Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 NIV

What am I looking for today?

This morning when I read this scripture.  I have to admit I went on autopilot.  I have read it before.  I can quote it.  I knew what it is saying.  The trouble is that it is an easier scripture to memorize than it is to live.  Today, each of us will seek after many things.  We are seeking people.  The questions is what will be the thing that I seek after first? What will be my priority today?  What is it that I seek after most?

Often times, it's the "things" that get first priority not God.  Often times, we put God seeking on auto pilot and seek after other things.  Often times, I don't give my relationship with God the time, attention, and careful search that is needed because I am busy seeking selfish, self centered things.

Matthew's gospel reminds us to seek the one and only thing that can really satisfy us and to seek it it as first priority above all other things.  This is a choice that we have to make each and every day.  Moment by moment.

What are you seeking today?

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, September 23, 2011

Out There

I have been accused of being out there.

I am not sure what they mean by that.  I hope it means that I am a person who tries to live out there.  Outside of my self.  Live out my faith.  Live on the outside rather than live on the inside, isolated and alone.  I hope that they mean I am out there when it comes to my love for others.  Out there in terms of compassion and grace.

Jesus was out there.  Many thought he was out there because he healed the sick, caressed the leaper, and ate with sinners and outcasts.  Many thought Jesus was out there because he lived different than the world around him and he called his followers to build a new kind of community of love and grace.  Many people said Jesus was out there because he said I want you to love the ones you find hard to love and wont love you back in return.

I have decided that I want to follow the way of Jesus and live my life in relationship with him.  I want to be out there.  I want to take my faith outside of  my comfort zone.  Outside of my home and my church.  I want to be out there.  Because, out there is where Jesus is.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, September 16, 2011

Not a re-verb

I was thinking about love and what real love is.  I have heard it said that love is a verb.  This is correct love, when it is true and real, has legs.  It motivates and moves us.  As I was pondering that aspect and reflecting on my own capacity to love it hit me that too often my actions are reactions.  I love because.  In the case of our relationship with Christ, our love is always a reactions because first loved us.  So, our love in that since is a re-verb.  However, God's love and the love that he calls us to with one another is not, and should never be, based upon the action of anything or anyone else.  It is a love that acts first.  A love that has no condition of action before or after.  It is a verb not a re-verb.  It is a love because.   Let's try this today.  Love without condition.  Love just because.  Let's love unconditionally because Christ's loves us unconditionally.  Love your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, strangers not because they have loved you are done something to warrant love.  Just love.  I bet it impacts our day.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Smile :)

Serve.
Minister to.
Inspire.
Love.
Everyone.

Have you shared a smile with anyone today.    It is amazing the power that a smile can have.  There are times that we can communicate with someone we are close to just by giving them a smile.  They know us and know what we are thinking in that moment.  A smile between friends and people we are close to is so valuable.  It communicates love.  It can sooth us when we are hurting.  It can calm our nerves.  It can inspire us for a moment, even days.

A warm smile from someone, even if we have never met them before, can have an impact on our day.  Smiles can be contagious.  They are a random act of kindness.   It is something that we can easily share.

Serve, minister to, inspire and love everyone today. :)

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Flower beds

I was able to spend my day off yesterday helping my mother and father in-law with some landscaping projects around their house.  It was a beautiful day to be outside.  Doing yard work can be a very meditative thing and being outside on such an awesome day really aided in reflecting on my relationship with God and the work that God wants to do in my life.

We planted flowers.  I hope they will grow.

It was a lot of hard work to plant these flowers.  We had to get the soil ready and then prepare the the bed with weed guard to keep the weeds out  and then plant the flower bundles.  My wife Nicole and I had a system I dug the holes and then she would place the bunch of flowers in the hole and pack them in.  This is work that you have to get your hands dirty in order to do it right.

After we planted the flowers we then had to spread river rock on the beds to cover the weed guard and make the beds look pretty.  I can't tell you how much we shoveled but it I do know I can feel it my muscles this morning.  It was a lot of hard work.  It was also fun and meditative.

In order for the flowers to grow it takes us getting our hands dirty and it takes hard work.  But, it also takes God sending the rain and shining the sunshine.

This is true of our spiritual  growth.   If we want to grow spiritually we have to be willing to get our hands dirty sometimes.  We have to be willing to do the hard work that it takes in order for us to grow.  Growth doesn't just happen.  We have to do those things that prepare the soil of our hearts and lives to be receptive for God's word to be at work in us.  We need to pray, worship, study, fellowship with other Christians, share our faith, and serve others.  We need to do the hard work. But, we cant do it with out God.  God makes us grow as we place our lives in his hands.  As we give to him our hurts, hangups, struggles, hopes, dreams, fears, insecurities and vulnerabilities he grows our trust and our love.  We have to get our hands dirty and work hard and he will bring about the growth.

I planted some flowers yesterday.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, September 9, 2011

TGIF

It has been a while since I have done a "Thank God it's Friday" post.  Not that I have not been grateful or had things to give thanks for, I just haven't been making the posts.

It is funny how we can get in the rut of taking things for granted.  We can get in auto pilot and fail to recognize or remember that we have so much to be grateful for.  This is why I use to always make sure that Fridays where a post that would cause me to count my blessings.  The truth is that everyday I can and should be grateful.  Each day I can and should take time to thank God.  This is why I shifted away from the Friday thing because each day I should give thanks.  Each morning I wake up I can and should awake grateful.  Gratitude is a choice. It is my choice.  Each day I need to make that choice and express my gratitude.

I am stopping right now, I hope you will too, to say "thank you God!"

What are you thankful for today?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Looking Back So We Can Move Forward

I was talking with a friend of mine the other day and we were talking about the tendency that we have to not want to have things change.  We like things to be the way that they were.  We remember the good old days and wish things could just be like they once were.

We know that God is always asking to grow and to step out in our faith but we are comfortable with the way things are so we just wish and hope and hang on to a past that is just that--past.  Yet, this tendency of ours keeps us from living the present and experiencing the power of God for our future.  It keeps us from receiving anything new and it never helps us to grow in our faith and trust in God.

In the scriptures every time that people were called to look back at their past it was not to glory in it but to encourage them to take the next step of faith.  They looked back at the past to  remind them of what they knew about God and to remind them of what God can do when they trust him and walk by faith. They looked back so that they could move forward.

God wants us to live today and to trust him with our future.  Maybe today you are in a place or a situation that has you out of you comfort zone?  Maybe you are in a situation that you don't see a way out and you just wish things could be like they once were?  Maybe you are in a struggle and it seems hopeless?  No matter what you are going through I encourage you to trust not in what you know about your situation, but what you know about your God.  It is time to take a step of faith.  It is time for you to grow Spiritually.  Look back at other times in your life that you have trusted God and remember God's faithfulness and that God got you though them.  Look back and remember that God is faithful and has never let you down.  Look back.  Not to hold on and wish you could go back or just stay, but to take the step of faith that is needed to move forward.  Look back to be encouraged.  Look back to be inspired.  Look back to reminded of the power of the God that is with you and leading you into what lies ahead for you.

Each time that we take a step of faith, trusting God, we are blessed.  Each time we grow.  Each time God is faithful to keep his promise.  Each time we are able to do what we could never do under our own power.  Each time we discover a future that we never even dreamed was possible.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, September 2, 2011

More Inspiration from Music

I am currently wearing out a CD from Sidewalk Prophets.  Every moment that I spend in my car here lately seems to place them as the background music of my life.  I enjoy listening to their music because it makes me think and reflect on whether I am living for Jesus or I am living for myself/ playing church.  It is good to have something that constantly directs your thoughts in the direction of God.  Music does that for me.  So, I have been listening a lot lately and taking an inventory of my life, my motivations, and my actions.

The song that has really been speaking to me is called "You Can Have Me."  It begins by asking the question, "If Jesus was to walk up to me on the street right now and ask me to follow him would I really let go of my life and follow him?"

"Do I love him enough to let go?"

Is my love for Jesus the type of love that consumes me?  Is it all that I want?  Is he on my mind all the time?  Do I want to make him smile?  Since I met my wife and fell in love with her, my love for her consumes me.  I want to make her happy.  I want to spend my life with her.  I want to please her.  It is an all consuming that moves me to live out that love in my life as her husband.  The same is true for Jesus.  My love for Jesus should consume me.  Love is not really love if it doesn't consume us.   Jesus says love lays down it's life for the other.  Love is not really love if it doesn't move us to live in a new way, out of the love that we have.  Love moves us.

So, does our love for Jesus move and consume us?  I pray that mine does.  I pray each day that I become more consumed by my love for Jesus and surrender more fully to Him and the life he has for me.  He can have me!  It is worth it!  To give up my life for Christ's sake is to gain!  That is what the scripture says.   And that is what we discover when we let go and let him have our lives and our consumed by his love for us and our love for him.




Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug