Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Casting Crowns

God has a a way of using music to speak to me.   I have always been a fan of Casting Crowns because their music helps me to think about what it means to live out my relationship with Jesus.  My wife got me their new CD and I seem to be listening to it whenever I can.  The song that God is using right now to talk to me, and convict me about how I live, is called "Jesus, Friend of Sinners".  I want to share it with you today.   The words are powerful and help us to think about how we live our lives can either draw people to Jesus or be a stumbling block.  I pray that I can be more like Jesus and that he would break my heart for the things that break his.

Love today.

In Christ's love of mine,
Doug




Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth's become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they're tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I'm so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours

Yeah...

Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who's writing in the sand
Make the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of thieves
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees
No one knows what we're for only against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours

You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they're the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

'Cause You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours

And I was the lost cause and I was the outcast
Yeah...
You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Take a day off

Yesterday I did something that I had not done for a long time.  This is a confession moment for me.  I have not been taking a day off. I say that Monday's are my day off but each week it seemed that I found myself working on that day.  There were things that I felt had to be done.  There was ministry that I had to take care of.  What was happening to me however, as I failed to take the proper time away and time off, was I was being drained of energy.  I was beginning to take on the hurts and the pains of everyone that I was ministering with.  I was getting drained day after day and I was not stopping to be still and know that God was God. 

Someone told me that in the work of the Kingdom there are no days off.  But, I realized that if I didn't take a day off I was not going to be any good for the Kingdom.  I needed to unplug and reconnect to God and have Him do some Kingdom work in me.  God was making this very clear to me and so I made sure that yesterday I took my day off.  I turned off my phone.  It seems that some days all I do is go from phone call to phone call.  Many people complain that they cant reach me on my phone and it usually because I am on it. I avoided text messaging and email and opted for face to face communication.  I took my wife to lunch and I did something around the house I wanted to do for my children.  I rested in God's presence and that God was in control, not me.

Here is what happened my in box for my cell phone messages got full.  I got 67 emails. Life still happened.  Nothing fell apart.  The world did not stop because I did.  Somethings waited for today.  Somethings where fixed without me.  I did not stress or worry.  I felt the Spirit renewing me and gently humbling me to my place in the universe as a creation of the creator.

I am going to try to be much more disciplined about my day off and my Sabbath (this is topic of another post but these are two different things).  I have to be if I want to be any good for the work of the Kingdom.  I can't get caught up thinking that the world cant do without me.  The truth is they did before me and they will after me.  I need to connect with God so that I can make the most of the time that I have to do the work of the Kingdom.   If people need to reach you they will and they can.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day

As I drove into town today I saw a lot of flags.  They decorated the court house.  They lined the drive at the school where they were serving a breakfast for veterans.   They decorated different businesses throughout the town. I listened on the radio as people called in to honor and thank people for their service to our country.

Today is more than a holiday.  It is more than just a day to close offices and take time off.  It is more than a day to decorate and feel patriotic.  Today is ultimately about showing gratitude towards those who serve and have served.  It is a day to pray and thank God for men and women who have served us by serving our country.  It is a time to pray and ask God to protect our service men and women who are serving right now as we read this.  It is a day to recognize and honor that we need to have a heart and care for one another.  That is what makes us great.  It reminds us that there is something noble and honorable about laying down our lives for each other.  Today is a reminder that we are greater when we care for each.

Today I thank God for all of the men and women who serve and have served in our military.   I pray that God would provide for and protect all of our veterans everywhere.  I pray that we all might learn from ore veterans valuable lessons that will make us better people of God.

If you are a veteran, I want you to know that I a grateful for your service.  I am praying and thanking God for you today and always.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Do we say, "That settles it!"

““Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18 NIV

This morning as a I read these words it hit me that sin is something that is very unsettling to God.  However, it is not unsettling to God for the reasons that I would most often think.  You would think that it would disturb God because it is disobedience to him.  We would be unsettled because someone outright defied us.  Yet, it seems that what is most unsettling to God is that sin keeps us from Him.  Sin separates us for Christ and living for ever in a close relationship with the one who created us to love us.  So God is unsettled because he wants no separation in our relationship with him.

Jesus enters into the world to settle the matter.  We cant do anything to settle the sin problem but Jesus can.  Through the prophet Isaiah we hear the words of our Lord saying he is going to settle the matter.  There is some wonderful imagery that points to the works of Christ on the cross.  Our sin is like scarlet, red as crimson and the Lord is going to settle the matter and make us white as snow and the purest of wool.  Jesus scarlet, crimson red blood is shed so that you and I can be forgiven of sin and we can be made new.  Washed clean.  We don't have to be unsettled anymore.  Jesus has settled the matter.  We just need to come to Jesus and receive his forgiveness.  We need to stop trying to settle the matter on our own and through our own strength because we cant do.  We need to accept that Jesus has done it for us and that the work of Christ on the cross is enough.

We need to settle the matter be giving our lives to the one that has already settled the matter.  We need to live in, and live out, the relationship that Christ died and rose from the dead for us to live in.  We need to live like it is settled.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug