Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Friday, July 22, 2011

TGIF

Lord, thank you for loving me anyway. Thank you for loving me when I am not very loving. Thank you for loving me when I have done nothing to deserve it. Thank you for loving me when I don't love you in return. Thank you for always loving me. Help me to show my gratitude for your love by loving others as you love me. Amen.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Control

Luke 22:42
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

John 6:38
For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.

Can you imagine how different things would be if Jesus had been a control freak? What if Jesus would have said, "I want it my way!"? What if Jesus had wanted the control?

Jesus is our example. We must give up control. Let go and let God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

All We...

Why is it that we tend to think that we are the only one who struggles? Why do we think that nobody else is going through or ever dealt with the stuff that we are going through and dealing with?

Somehow, we convince ourselves that everyone else has their stuff together. Everyone else is normal and we are abnormal. No one else understands. No one else can relate.

I think these thoughts are exactly what the devil wants us to think.

The truth is that none of us are normal. We all struggle. We all go through difficulties. Every one of us is flawed and imperfect.

The problem is a kind of a circular problem that feeds itself. If we think that we are the only ones with struggles, difficulties and problems than we try to pretend that we don't have them because we don't want people to know that we are different. This makes others think that we have it all together. So, they now think they are the only ones with problems and difficulties and struggles so they pretend they don't have them so that others don't think they are different. This just keeps perpetuating itself until we are all just pretending that we got it all together yet behind close doors and deep inside we wonder why we are the only ones with these difficulties and struggles.

What we all have in common is our brokenness. What we all have in common is our struggles and difficulties. We all are imperfect and abnormal.

I am convinced that what we need to do is stop hiding. Stop hiding for our sake and for Christ sake. We need to be honest about our struggles and difficulties because it frees us and others to see that we are all in the same boat. We are not alone. God is with us and cares about our struggles and difficulties. If we are real about our lives, our love and our relationship with God then wee can share how God has helped us through the difficulties of our lives . We need relationships in our lives that God can work through. Relationships where we can know and be known by others. Love and be loved. Relationships where we don't have to pretend and can support one another and carry one another s burdens.

You are not alone.
I struggle too.
We all do.

All we like sheep have gone astray. Not one of us has it all together.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, July 15, 2011

Vacation Reflection Part 3

One of the places that we visited while on vacation was the US Olympic Training Center. This center is where Olympic athlete hopefuls train to be a part of the US Olympic team. It is an amazing place with top of the line, state of the art training facilities.

What was amazing about this place was the dedication, discipline, and commitment of the athletes themselves. They move to Colorado Springs and give their lives to training for their sport. They set aside everything else and make this pursuit their top priority. They are dedicated, committed and very disciplined. They spend day after day training themselves up. They follow strict diets and strict training schedule. They give up everything else to devote full time to being the best that they can be at their sport. They literally give their lives to their sport and live it 24/7 at this training facility.

It makes me reflect upon my discipline and my commitment as I give my life to Christ. To really give our lives to Christ (and not just play church) requires discipline and commitment. It is a 24/7 devotion that is needed. We need to continually nurture our relationship with God by doing spiritual disciplines of meditating on the Scriptures, prayer, fasting, worship, spending time with other Christians, Serving and sharing our faith with others so that we can be trained up and grow deeper and deeper in our love and relationship with Christ.

We, I, need the commitment, discipline, and dedication of these Olympic athletes in regards to my relationship with Christ. Then he can build me up into the person that he wants me to be.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vacation Reflections Part 2


This was my first time in the Rocky Mountains. The only other time I have ever spent in any mountains is when I was in the Holy Lands a few years ago. I have noticed something about mountains that was even more apparent in the Rockies on this trip. As you drive up the nineteen mile trek to the summit of Pike's Peak you travel through a few different climates. At the start of the road where you pay your fee to climb to the summit you are 7000 feet above sea level. At this point the temperature is nice, maybe even a little warm. But, here the river is flowing the air is warm, plants and trees are growing there is life happening. As you make your way towards the mountaintop you pass through different regions. We went to a subarctic region and an arctic region. Passing through each region it seemed to get colder and what was able to grow in each region seemed to get less and less. The higher we climbed toward the mountaintop the less green stuff we saw and the rockier it got. We travel up above the tree line. Nothing was really growing in the altitude and the cold climate of the mountaintop. When we reached the summit it was cold and rocky. The summit at 14,110 ft above sea level provided us with a great of the journey that we had taken and it allowed us to see further than we had ever seen before. But, it was not a place that we could stay. The road closes at 7:00 and everyone must return to the valley. In fact, as breath taking and as wonderful as it was, we could never live there. Life cannot be sustained on the mountaintop. Nothing grows in that climate and at that altitude.

All of the growing happens in the valleys. Life takes place down in the valleys. We have those mountaintop moments in life that help us to see the journey we have come from a new perspective and to see further than we ever seen before. We have those mountaintop moment with Christ and they enable us to go into the valley and live and to journey to the next mountaintop. Our growth through the valleys leads us to mountaintops with Christ. New perspective. Richer fuller life. Streams of living water running through us. Deeper love. Deeper commitment.

Jesus took three of his disciples up on a mountaintop and there he was transfigured and they saw him in all his glory. They also saw there with Jesus on the mountaintop Moses and Elijah. Peter wanted to build tents and stay there but Jesus told them they needed to go back down the mountain because that is where live happens.

Don't get discouraged in the valleys of life because that is where growth happens. Keep journeying to the next mountaintop. Draw on the energy of your mountaintop experiences to lead you through the valleys and give you new perspective on the journey.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Vacation Reflections Part 1

I once used Pike's Peak in an illustration to help people think about where they are in their relationship with God. I said to imagine that the top of Pike's Peak represented that they where very close to God and that they where in constant communion with God and there life was fully committed to God. Pike's Peak represented, in this illustration, the closest that one felt they could be to God. At the other end was where we lived in Missouri. Our town was the beginning point on our journey to God.

If we where to map our relationship with God on a map from our home town to Pike's Peak, in terms of our growth and commitment to God, where would we be on that map?

That was the question that was derived from this illustration.

My family and I on our vacation this year made that drive. The actual drive from Trenton, Missouri to Pike's Peak in Colorado is a long trip. The distance between here and there is an impressive distance. It is a long drive across a flat Kansas (I am not knocking Kansas just stating a truth). It is a long drive across Missouri, Kansas and Colorado. In fact the final climb up to the peak of the mountain, while only being 19 miles total is a very long drive. But, the view is amazing and worth the climb. The journey itself is amazing. The journey I think made the destination all the more powerful.

Had Missouri and Kansas been filled with mountains I don't believe the Rockies would have taken my breath away. Had it been a quick and easy trip I don't think the memories would be as special and powerful. My guess is that I would have just taken everything for granted.

In our journey with God, sometimes we just focus on the destination and think it is all about the destination. We think is all about getting to heaven. It is about a life that we can have in the next life and we just let this life pass us by. Jesus wants to use this journey to transform us and to change the world around us. It is all about the journey.

Often times, even when we see the destination as a close relationship with God in this life time, we get focused in on that destination and the gap between where we would like to be and where we actually are. Let's be honest. We all want to be closer to God. At times on the journey, we get overwhelmed by the journey rather than seeing the journey as an important, necessary, and valuable for our relationship with God. It is about journeying with God. It is about allowing God to do a work in us and through us as we go through the ups and downs and the highs and lows. It is about understanding and living that God is with us and never leaves us. It is the joy of the journey as we day by day grow closer and deeper in our love and relationship with God.

So, no matter where we are in the map we can is at work drawing us closer to him. God is using the low places and the dry places to grow us and get us to the destination. Enjoy and take heart in the journey.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug