Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Friday, February 27, 2009

100th Post!!! Thank God it's Friday!!!

Thank you God for the little celebrations that you give us in life!

I just love the little things that we can celebrate. Today is a day to celebrate at our house. Darbey turns 1/2 today. She is exactly six months old--her half birthday. She is such a joy and we celebrate this milestone in her young life.

Little things can mean so much. Little celebrations and moments of joy remind me that God is the source of all the joy. True joy, real joy comes from God.

Celebrate today. Find something in your life today that you can celebrate and give God thanks for. Celebrate little things like 100th post or half birthdays. Find something to celebrate, come on, you can do it. Celebrate life. Celebrate joy. Celebrate and give thanks to God for the joy that he provides. TGIF

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Discipline

For some of us the word discipline is very difficult word. It is harsh, hard, and just plan not fun. It, to often, is associated with punishment. However, I don't think that it is meant to be that way. Discipline is something that is necessary. Discipline is something that is a good thing and helps us to become more fully who we are created to be. Without discipline we would never learn or grow.

The 40 days of Lent are a time for us to be more disciplined about focusing on our relationship with God. Over these next 40 days we need to be intentional about relating to God. We need to be disciplined in our prayer life. We need to be more disciplined about worship, and service, encounter God in the scriptures and sharing our faith. This discipline is good for us and can help us to encounter God and to grow in his image. So what is your plan? Do you have a plan to help make these 40 days life-changing?

Something I was thinking about today was how we might be able to find things in our life to be "triggers" or reminders to focus on God. This could help us to be more disciplined over the next 40 days. Is there something that happens regularly throughout your day that you could allow to be a trigger to turn your thoughts toward God. Maybe you have a watch that beeps every hour, or a clock that chimes. Maybe you could let that be a trigger to pray. Maybe every time you get an email or check your email it could be a trigger to check in with God. What are some regularly occurring things in your day that you could turn into reminders so that you could make the next 40 days very intentional about focusing on God.

Think about it. Think about how you can turn ordinary moments and happenings in to God moments throughout the next 40 days. Be creative. I know we have it in us, in college we could make anything into a party game. Create a discipline for your life that helps you encounter God in your ordinary day. Make yourself some reminders of your desire to be in relationship with God and to live it real ways.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Being Real During Lent-- A Caution

Today is Ash Wednesday and it marks the beginning of the season of lent.

Lent can be very special time for us but it can also be a time that we can put on an act, play a part, and just plain pretend that we are following Jesus. I say this because sometimes Lent gets boiled down to just a time of year that we give something up for forty days. We can stop eating cake, give up sweets, stop watching TV, or stop doing something else that we could do without and we think that this is what we do in Lent.

Someone may even ask you in the next couple of days what are you giving up for Lent?

This morning as I was thinking about this season and it just hit me how easy it is for us to pretend and put on a mask at this time. What we give up can be a mask. Giving something up could be a way of pretending and acting like we are following Jesus. I am not saying that we do, I am just saying that it could be easy for us during this time. We need to be aware that the rituals and practices of this season are not the end all and be all of Lent. The goal of this season is for us to understand our need for God and to live in relationship with God. The goal of Lent is to grow deeper in our love of God. The goal of lent is to unmask and uncover those places that we hide from God. The goal is to stop pretending, to stop playing, and be real about our love of God, love of one another, and to grow in relationship with Jesus.

If you are thinking about giving something up today, give something up that can really help you focus on God. Don't give it up because it is what people do at this time or because you are trying to quite anyway. This is about you and God. Maybe you want to take on something new that will focus you on God and help you to grow in relationship with Jesus. These practices and an intentional focus on God over the next forty days can have powerful impact on our lives we just have to be real about who we are, who God is, and our desire to walk with him.

What would you like to see happen in your relationship with God over the next forty days?
How would you like to have God impact your relationship with others over the next forty days?
What do you need to give to God over the next forty days so that you can experience a real, meaningful, life changing, Lent?
What can you do today to make sure that you don't just go through the motions of Lent but encounter God in Lent?


Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Walking the talk

Since I returned from Israel we have been talking at church about walking in the footsteps of Jesus. We have focused on how we can do this in our lives everyday not just when we go on a trip to Israel. Jesus walks with us right now. Jesus is present in our homes, in our workplaces, in our communities.

Jesus is still walking through our lives and our world and he is inviting us to walk in his footsteps.
To go where he is.
To love the people that he loves (which is everyone).
To care for people like he would care for people.
To treat our world the way Jesus would treat our world.

To walk in his footsteps.
To trust him.
To obey him.
To follow his lead.
To serve him in all that we do.

Walk in his footsteps.
To seek his direction.
To do what he would do.
Forgive. Love. Forgive. Love. Forgive. love.
Grace upon grace.

Walk in his footsteps.
Proclaim good news to the poor.
Release the prisoner.
Restore sight of the blind.
Free the oppressed.

Walk in his footsteps.
In real ways.
In tangible ways.
In life transforming ways.

We have talked about it plenty. I am sure that we will talk about it more. But it is more important, I think, that we walk it than that we talk about it.

Today is the day that we have been given to walk all the talk. Today is the only day that we are sure that we have to see Jesus in our lives and in our world. Look for him, seek him, follow him. Today is the only day that we are sure that we have to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Make the most of your today. Walk where Jesus walks.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,

Monday, February 23, 2009

Connections


We make lots of different connections everyday. We are really living in time of technical connection. We make connections by phone, which most people carry on themselves at all times. There are times we make connection on our phones with text messages. We connect to the Internet and we can connect to one another through email and through instant messenger services. We connect through blogs and through social community networks like Facebook and myspace. What I am getting at is that we make all kinds of connections in a normal day. We make them by dialing up and we make them at high speeds. If you are reading this today you have probably already made several connections.


Have you connected to God? Have you made a personal face-to-face connection with someone today?


I am grateful for these many means that we have to connect to one another. I am grateful that I can connect to you through this blog and keep up with people by phone and text and social sites. But I think the most important connections that we can make are to God and one another on a personal and intimate level.


Today try to make a connection with God. Pray.

Today take time to make a personal face-to-face connection with one of God's people.


Love today.


In Christ's love and mine,

Doug


Friday, February 20, 2009

TGIF

Thank God for prayer.

When I say I am thankful for prayer I mean that I am thankful that I can talk to God. I am thankful that I can enter into God's presence with more than words and place my life before God. It is awesome to think that the creator of the universe, the all-knowing, all powerful, all loving God of the universe wants to be in communion with me. God cares about my life and the things that are going on. God wants me to talk to and listen to him. He wants me to be lost in his presence. I can go to God with my concerns, my joys, my hopes, my dreams, my insecurities, my vulnerabilities, and my difficulties. I am thankful that God listens and hears me when I have words to say in prayer and that God intercedes on my behave when I can't find the words to say.

I thank God that I can tap into him when I pray. Prayer taps us into God's power and God's love. It is being in God. And I am thankful that God hears my prayers and my cries. I am thankful that I can pray and lift my life and the lives of others and place them in the hands of God. I am thankful for the change that spending time in prayer makes in me.

What are you thankful for today?
Give God the thanks! Spend some time today with God lost in his presence. Talk, listen, be.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Our Daily Bread

I spoke with someone today that lived during the great depression. We spoke about how times are difficult now and how people are talking about the possibilities of another depression. My first thought was this person should not have to experience that twice in a lifetime. My next thought was you have lived a good, long life when you get to see history repeat itself.

But than I asked her about the depression and she said "you know what times were tough but we had what we needed to get by. God took care of us. We didn't know any different."

We talked about how life would be a lot tougher if we didn't have God with us and how hard it must be for people without God in their lives.

This made me thank about the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray and how we are to ask God to "give us our daily bread." I think this means that we are to lean on God for what we need for today. We can trust God to provide what we need for today. God will take care of us. I think that it is interesting that Jesus didn't tell us to pray for a weeks worth, a months worth, or a years worth. He said pray, "give us today our daily bread." Just give us what we need to get by today. Tomorrow we will deal with tomorrow. Toady's needs are enough for today. I think this teaches us to lean on God and trust God everyday. When we do this, I think, it helps us to know that God cares about us, that God provides for us and we can trust God in good times and difficult times to give us what we need for today.

What daily needs do you need to trust God for?

What are some things that you fret and worry about that might not be what you need for today?


Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Some more thoughts on Sabbath.

CONTROL.

I think we all want to be in control. Maybe it is are sinful nature or maybe it is human nature. But, it seems that we all want to be the in control. One of the first words that we learn is "mine." "Mine, mine, mine, mine," is just a way of saying "I am in control." "This is mine." "It is all about me, me, me, and I am the one in control." "If it is mine then I control it."

However, you and I, no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves, are not ultimately in control. Life has a way of reminding us of this truth. (I won't go into details but I am sure you can think of times in your life that you were reminded that you were not ultimately in control.) God is in control. Sabbath is about us recognizing that fact. Sabbath is about us giving control of our lives to God and giving up the idea that we control it.

Here is something that is amazing about God and the Sabbath. Do you know when the day starts? If we read Genesis and the creation story we discover when God intends for the day to begin.

"And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day." Genesis 1:3-5

According to Genesis, a day begins in the evening. This means that the Sabbath begins with resting. It does not begin with an alarm clock or with work it begins by going to sleep. When we are asleep we can't even fool ourselves into thinking we are in control. The world keeps turning while we sleep. Sleep is that moment that we give up control. We sleep and God works. We sleep, we are not in control, God is. When we wake up in the morning the world is still here. Nothing has been lost because God is in control. The Sabbath begins by given control of our lives and the world over to God. Each day begins by putting our trust in God to sustain us while we close our eyes and sleep.

We can try to control things, and we do. However, if we want to live out our relationship with Jesus in real and tangible ways we must live lives that have a Sabbath rhythm of rest and work. We must understand that ultimately- we are not in control. And we must trust that God is in control and will take care of us even when we can't see how it is going to work out. God cares about you and me and always wants what is best for us. God is love. Love is in control. Let go and let God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Some thoughts on the Sabbath

I was reading in the book of Exodus and I was thinking about the sabbath and the practice of keeping the Sabbath. Exodus is where we find the 10 commandments and the Sabbath laws.

I will admit that this whole understanding of Sabbath can get a bit confusing. After all, it was in this area of keeping the Sabbath that Jesus and many of the religious leaders of his day had disagreements. How can I expect that I might know, fully, what it means to "remember the Sabbath and keep it holy." (Exodus 20:8). I am not the only one a little confused about this am I?

What day is the Sabbath? What should I do on the Sabbath? Do I have to go to church? What if I have to work on Sunday? What if I do good things? Should I just rest? How do I remember the Sabbath? How do I Keep it Holy?

The questions go on and on.

As I was reading this morning I was thinking about some of the confusion around the sabbath and keeping a holy day. I began to see that the focus of many of the question are around "doing." Yet the practice of the Sabbath seems to be focused around "being."

When we read Exodus, we and what we do are not what make the sabbath holy. God makes the sabbath holy. Sabbath is about us allowing God to make the day holy and to make us holy. Sabbath is not about doing God things it is about being in God's presence. It is about intentionally focusing and spending a day in God's presence being re-created in his image. It is not about what we "do" or the specific day that we do it. It is about making sure that we take a day each week to understand that God is God, I am me, and I need God. God makes the sabbath holy- not me. It is what God does in me and in my day that makes it holy-- not me. It is me being in God's presence, focusing on giving my day, my life, to God that is the act of remembering it. I think the most important thing about the Sabbath is God. We can't have a sabbath without God. We can do nothing, follow all the rules to a "t" but if we leave God out of it, we have remembered and kept nothing holy.

Have you given a day to being in God's presence this week? Have you rested from the "doing" and just got lost in the idea of being a child of God?

Just some thoughts.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, February 16, 2009

Keep it Real

Red letter stuff from Luke 12:1-9 (The Message translation)

By this time the crowd, unwieldy and stepping on each other's toes, numbered into the thousands. But Jesus' primary concern was his disciples. He said to them, "Watch yourselves carefully so you don't get contaminated with Pharisee yeast, Pharisee phoniness. You can't keep your true self hidden forever; before long you'll be exposed. You can't hide behind a religious mask forever; sooner or later the mask will slip and your true face will be known. You can't whisper one thing in private and preach the opposite in public; the day's coming when those whispers will be repeated all over town.
"I'm speaking to you as dear friends. Don't be bluffed into silence or insincerity by the threats of religious bullies. True, they can kill you, but then what can they do? There's nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.
"What's the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don't be intimidated by all this bully talk. You're worth more than a million canaries.
"Stand up for me among the people you meet and the Son of Man will stand up for you before all God's angels. But if you pretend you don't know me, do you think I'll defend you before God's angels?


When I read this passage in The Message, something jump out that I had not noticed as much before. That something was Jesus concern for those that were following him. I always read this as a complaint against pharisees. However, it is really a warning to the disciples.

It must be something that can happen to followers of Jesus. Something that we need to guard ourselves against. Jesus must see how easy it is for us to get too religious and loose sight of the relationship. He must know that the tendency is to hide behind a mask rather than allow the relationship to change us. And his warning is to keep it real, don't play religious games and don't pretend to be what you are not. Follow him and focus on the relationship with him. Lean on Jesus. Trust Jesus. Love Jesus and allow his love to be at work in and through you. Keep it real.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Thank God it's Saturday!

What do you have to be thankful for today?

I am thankful for grace. You know that undeserved, unearned gift of God's favor. I am grateful that God doesn't give me what I deserve. I am grateful that God gives me what I don't deserve. I am thankful that by God's grace I am forgiven and I am loved.

I am also thankful for how I experience grace from others. I thank God for the moment in my life that through other people I understand more fully what God's grace is all about. Today, I just want to say, "Thank you God for grace and the people through which you share and show it."

Thank God it's Saturday!

Love today,
Doug

Friday, February 13, 2009

If God sent Valetines

If God sent valentines he would send one to you.
It would tell you about how he never stops loving you.
It would say that he loves you no matter what.
It would say that you are the apple of his eye.
It would say that he loves you so much he would lay down his life for you.
It would say I love you just the way are.
It would say I love you so much that I wont leave you that way.
It would say I love you.
I love you all ways, always.

God want s to know if you will be his valentine today? Will you?

God loves you.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Prayer for the Journey

God, I want to feel you with me today.
There are moments in life that you seem so distant from me or maybe it is that I am distant from you. Maybe it is that I don't look for you. Whatever it is Lord, today I want to feel you close to me. I need to feel you close to me.

I want to see you today. I want to see you beside me and around me. I want to settle for nothing less than to see you in my life today. I need to see you today.
Comfort me, calm me, lead me, guide me, shape me.
Help me.
Help me to know that you are near me and that you never leave me of forsake me.

Lord, you are always with me. You laugh when I laugh. Cry when I cry. You wipe my tears. You collect them and count them as precious. You are my friend. You are beside me every step of the way.

Today, I am yours. I am looking for you. I am listening for you. I am trusting in you. And even if today I have trouble seeing, or hearing, or feeling you-- I know you are here.
You are faithful. You hear me. You see me. You love me.

Today, I am going to trust in that and seek you in the midst of my life. Today, I am going to trust in you and your promises. I need you today and everyday. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear and the faith lean fully into you. I love you Lord. Today it is you and me. In Jesus name, so let it be.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Theology-- not a bad word

I remember when I started seminary I was told that "everyone is a theologian." I also remember when I heard that, I thought, "not me." "Me a theologian?"

What do you think of these statement?
"Everyone is a theologian."
"You are a theologian."

Theologians are people older and wiser than us, right? Theologians are people who write books and form belief. Me and you theologians? Yes.

Now before you start freaking out on me and stop reading let me explain a few things that lead me to believe that we are all theologians. And believe me I mean this is a good way. The best definition that I have for understanding theology is-- the study of God. Or better yet -- thinking about God. Talking about God. Theology is "God talk", God-study," learning about God, and thinking about God and God's ways.

I admit that my mind is not always on God. There are times that I just think about me. But, I try to think about God. I want to spend more time in my day focused on God and God's ways and God's desires than on my own. I want to be a theologian. A big reason why I do this blog is so that I might focus on God. Many of you tell me you read this as a way to focus your day on your relationship with God. This is theology. This is natural for all of us that want to live in relationship with God and want to encounter him in our everyday lives. We talk about God. We talk to God. We become students of God. We seek to learn from God. When we do those things we are theologians.

OK. Now that I put it that way don't stop because being a theologian is something you do not want to be. Embrace it. Turn your thoughts toward God. Think on the things of God. Meditate on God's word. The good news of all of this is that God's presence is not reserved for those who write the books and form theological opinions. We are all to be thinking, talking, and studying God in our lives. And we all do.

Have you turned your thoughts toward God and God's ways today?
Have you listened for the still, small voice?
Have you sought God's way? God's presence? God's purpose?

Turn your thoughts toward God today.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Family Resemblance

"Then God said, "Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." -Genesis 1:26-27

We are all image barriers of God. God created each of us to reflect the divine nature of God. All of us share this family resemblance. I realize that at times it is not easy to see the divine nature reflected from me and I realize that there are times that it is difficult to notice this family resemblance in others. However, I believe that what the Bible says is true and I believe that when God created each and every human being he created them in the image of God.

You are created in God's image. I am created in God's image. The person that is going to rub you the wrong way and make you mad this week-- created in the image of God. The person that will cut me off in traffic, or be rude to me, or that I am rude to--created in the image of God. The person that we find easiest to hate-- created in the image of God. The person we find hardest to love-- created in the image of God. Our bosses, co-workers, neighbors, friends, relatives, the stranger on the street-- created in the image of God. Every person that we will lay our eyes upon, or we try to turn our eyes away from, shares the family resemblance.

Let's be quicker to notice and look for that likeness than we are to focus on the difference. When someone is getting on your nerves or under your skin try to recognise that they have been created in the image of God. Before we get on someones nerves or under their skin look for the image of God in them. Let our words and our actions honor the image of the Creator in each other. Before we act, think about whether this is how we want to treat our family or someone created in the image of God. Let them image of God reflected in others shine on us so that we may grow in our love of God and our love of them.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, February 9, 2009

Family

I come from a family of eight children. Although, there are people who come from larger families I think that you could consider that a large family. In fact, I think our little family of four children is considered a pretty large family today. But, as I read the scriptures and try to live them out in my life I think that my understanding and our idea of family is just to small.

When Jesus teaches us to pray he begins by saying that we should pray "Our Father." I think Jesus wants us to expand our understanding of family. "Our" Father. I think that he wants understand our relationship to one another as family. That we are all an "our." That when we pray Jesus says we should not Just pray for ourselves. When we pray we should pray for all of us and we should address God as Father. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. We all have the same father.

To me, this has to mean more than we just call each other brother and sister. It must effect the way that we understand family and the way that we relate and care for one another. It means that we family members everywhere. All over the world.

I think Jesus wants us to understand that right now we have family members that are having their homes foreclosed on and family members that own multiple homes. Family members who are in prison and family members who are free. Family members dieing of AIDS and Malaria in Africa and family members that offer a cure. Family members who are starving and family members with more food than they can eat. Family members who are homeless and family members living in mansions. We are all one big family.

What would happen? What could happen if we really became what we pray? What might change about our world and the way that we relate to, and care for one another, if we broadened our understanding of family to be as big as Jesus wants it to be. What if we begin to see each other as family. What if we saw everyone as a brother or sister to love and care for.

I love my family. I have been blessed with a family that loves me and cares for me. Jesus wants to broaden that understanding. He wants us to see family as bigger. He teaches us that when we pray to understand that we are an "our" and we are part of a family that is bigger than our immediate family. A family bigger than our extended family. We are all children of the same Father. So "when you pray," Jesus says, "pray Our Father who art in Heaven."

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thank God it's Friday!

Today is Friday and as we give thanks for another week of work coming to an end and for the weekend ahead lets remember to be grateful for the ways that God has revealed himself to us throughout the week.

I was blessed to worship with brothers and sisters in Christ at Sweet Lake United Methodist Church a few years back. Sweet Lake Church is in Southwestern Louisiana and the folks worshiping there had been effected by Hurricane Rita. I was there on a mission trip. During their service they had a moment that they asked people to share a time in the week that they had "bumped into God." People stood up and shared how they saw God in their families, in co-workers and in the kindness of strangers. They shared big ways, but mostly they shared little things that a big impact on them.

I thank God for those moments this week that had a big impact on me. I am thankful that I can, and do, encounter him in my family, in the people that I visit, in the strangers that I encounter and the people that I work with.

Thank you God for being you and working through the people that you do to help me see you in my ordinary, everyday life.

Where did you bump into God this week?

What are you thankful for today? If you don't mind sharing I would love to hear it and give thanks with you.

Give thanks to God! Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pity, Party of One. Scratch that Party of Two.

When I woke up this morning I was sick.
I have the headache, body ache, sore throat, runny nose stuff.
I woke up this morning I just wanted to feel sorry for Doug. I wanted Nicole and the kids to feel sorry for Doug. I wanted to have my own little pity party for Doug, because I was sick. The good news is that no one in the family was going to allow me to have that party and if I was going to have that party it was going to be a party for one and after I did the things that had to be done.

This us usually how pity parties go. They are parties that we have all by ourselves because the focus of a pity party is us. I am sick. I want to feel sorry for me. I want others to pamper me. I want them to feel sorry for me. ME. ME. ME. It is MY party and I will cry if I want to. It is all about I, me, and my.

So, I woke up sick. No one wanted to join me for a pity party. I was focusing on poor me and then I read the 139th Psalm.

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,"
even the darkness will not be dark to you;

the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.

When I awake, I am still with you.

Pity parties are never parties of one. They are always a party of at least two. God is with me. God is with you. There is no place that we can go and escape God's presence. God is with us in our pity parties. Why? Because God cares.

God doesn't however, want us to just dwell in our pity. He doesn't want us to waste our time feeling sorry for ourselves or becoming self absorbed. The thing that we need to do is stop focusing on ourselves and focus on God.

God is with us. God is in control. The world will keep rotating. Healing will come. God is God. We are his creation. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. No matter what are situation or where we are at God is with us. God is working in us and through us in every moment. It is always a party of two!

Love today,
In Christ love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hello God it's me

Good morning God!

Thank you for this beautiful day. Thank you for your presence which is truly the beauty of the day. Today is a new day. It is your day. You have given it to me as a gift. May I see today as a gift from you. May I see the situations and all that I do as an opportunity to dwell in you. May I encounter you in the things that I do and the people that I meet. Help me to look for you. Help me to listen for you. Help me to be in you. Lord, today is the day that you have given me to grow in your image. Today is the day that I have been given to love deeper and to live by grace. Help me to lean on you and not on me. Help me to make the most of this day. And Lord, when the day gets rough and I forget that it is a gift, gently turn my focus back to you. Thank you for this day. Help me to love today. In Jesus name, Amen

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

No longer I that Live

I heard a song on the radio this morning as I was driving the kids to school. I have heard the song before. However, this morning as I was listening my mind was just racing with scripture and thoughts and ideas that I think I am suppose to share today. The song is written by country music singer Toby Keith. I believe that it is Paul Coleman whose version plays on Christian radio. The clip is his version and the lyrics follow.




If I Was Jesus, I'd have some real long hair
A robe and some sandals, is exactly what I'd wear
I'd be the guy at the party, turnin' water to wine
Yeah me and my disciples, we'd have a real good time.

Ooh and I'd lay my life down for you (woooooh)
And I show you who's the boss (woooooh)
I'd forgive you and adore you
While I was hangin' on your cross
If I Was Jesus.

I'd have some friends that were poor
I'd run around with the wrong crowd, man I'd never be bored
Then I'd heal me a blind man, get myself crucified
By politicians and preachers, who got somethin' to hide.

Ooh and I'd lay my life down for you (woooooh)
And I show you who's the boss (woooooh)
I'd forgive you and adore you
While I was hangin' on your cross
If I Was Jesus.

If I Was Jesus, I'd come back from the dead
And I'd walk on some water, just to mess with your head
I know your dark little secrets, I'd look you right in the face
And I'd tell you I love you, with Amazing Grace.

Ooh and I'd lay my life down for you (woooooh)
And I show you who's the boss (woooooh)
I'd forgive you and adore you
While I was hangin' on your cross
If I Was Jesus.

If I Was Jesus.

What I could not help but think about as I listened to this song with the kids this mornings was that the scriptures say, "It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me." I thought about how Jesus says "now that I have done this to you, now you should go an do likewise."

I though about how some people will only see the Jesus that is within you and me. Some peoples understanding of Jesus and his love is taken from what they learn from the Jesus that we share with them. I am not talking as much about how well we can quote scripture or recall the stories of Jesus that we read in the Bible. I am talking about the way that we love, forgive, judge & care. I am speaking about the how people that we associate with, the things that we do, our love and our grace should reflect that it is Jesus that lives in us. More accurately spoken, they reflect the degree to which Christ is living in us.

How does our love reflect God's love?
How does our forgiveness reflect God's forgiveness?
How does our care for the poor, the sick, those in need reflect Jesus in us?
How do the people that we are willing to associate ourselves with reflect the Jesus that is in us.

John the Baptist describes our Christian live best when he said, "I must become less and He must become more."

God loves you and me just the way that we are, as the song says, "He looks us right in the face and tells us I love you with amazing Grace." And God wants to make us more like Jesus in our love and our character. God wants to share that amazing love, grace and forgiveness with the whole world through you and me. The only Jesus some of the people that we encounter today will ever see is the Jesus in us. Let them see Jesus.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog Day

When I woke up this morning I saw that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. It must be Grounghog Day! It made me think about that old Bill Murray movie of the same name where he is stuck living the same day over and over.

Here is the trailor for this movie to give you an idea of what it is about.



What would you do if you only had one day to live? How would you live? What would you say to people? How would you treat others? What would you do differently?

Those are questions that the character in this movie has to answer and face. His answering these questions leads to some funny moments but ultimately it leads to him understanding that he wants to live and he wants to live differently.

How would you answer the question?

You know today really is the only day that we are sure of. It is the only day that we have to live. We can live in tomorrow. We try to don't we? But we can't live tomorrow, today is the only day we got. We cant live in the past either. No live happens in the past, it happened. Today is our day.

Today is the day that we have to live in and live out our love of God. Today is the day for us to say the kind word to others. Today is the day to love like we mean it. Today is the day to live and love like there is no tomorrow. Today is the day to live.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug