I have Spring Fever in the worst way and almost left the house in a light jacket, but checked the weather and wowzer!! 35 degrees…we aren’t there yet, my friends! But soon!!
This morning my devotion included a passage that was our benediction every Sunday for sooooo many years at First Christian.
I well remember the first Sunday sitting there in a new church wondering if this was where God was going to place us and hearing these words fall over me.
At that time I had walked with Jesus over three decades and yet I had never really grasped what Grace is.
FCC is where God finally broke through a whole lot of lies in my head that I wasn’t good enough to deserve salvation with the TRUTH that…well…I am not good enough to deserve salvation. No one does and that’s the point.
Because that’s what Grace is…it’s giving me what I don’t deserve while Jesus took what I did.
So I share those precious words that I waited for with anticipation every Sunday to hear spoken over me and over our young family…
From the tiniest of books in the Bible, Jude, come these amazing words:
Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you to stand in the presence of His glory, without blemish and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen
This is what a perfectionist, balance-challenged, flawed and prone to melancholy, stability craving person like me needs.
I bet you could use those words today as much as I do.
One of the words that keeps popping up in my devotions and sermons I am listening to is about how God gives us strength.
I talk about this a lot with the band of brothers and to myself because often I have confused the purpose of that strength He gives me.
It is easy as humans to want that strength to be applied to the tasks we have set our own minds and hearts to accomplish instead of for the purpose for which it is promised.
Classic misuse in youth?
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength as a ball is dribbled down a court and an impossible shot from the three point zone is launched.
Not saying that using Scripture to encourage us in all our tasks is bad, but I don’t think we are always making full use of God’s promises.
As I speak to myself and to anyone who might be walking the path of the journey beside me or behind me, I constantly remind us all that the strength He has promised is to overcome my human weakness and tendencies and bents toward a less than Christ-like lifestyle.
Case in point is something I have been noticing about Jesus in contrast to his detractors in several New Testament passages lately.
I notice the Pharisees and Scribes plans and such are described with words like “cunning, plotting, scheming” and I don’t see that in Jesus.
It would seem the tone of His ministry was a daily walk (literally walking from one place to another) explaining what the Kingdom of God is and isn’t.
I don’t see Him strategizing with the disciples on how to get an agenda hoisted on to anyone.
I don’t see Him thinking ahead about how to outsmart the Pharisees and Scribes.
I do see Him going off to quiet places alone to pray and then being present in whatever moment He found Himself in. He ministered with healing, deliverance and provision for physical needs while he continued to teach us what God and His Kingdom are about.
This morning I was reading in Mark 14:1-9.
The passage is most likely familiar.
Jesus is dining at the home of a Pharisee and an unnamed woman enters the setting with an expensive jar of oil that she breaks open and lavishly pours over his head and feet.
I am a visual person so this always gives me pause as I try to imagine this oil in His hair and I really have to get over my American sense of what is okay…but I digress.
Jesus accepts this potentially embarrassing display of extreme affection in public because He sees the heart of the woman and He blesses her.
Others begin analyzing the situation and how much better and wiser it would have been of her to sell that oil and then give the money to help poor people. Never mind that they probably used as much or more of their own money to furnish their homes and clothe themselves on the daily.
It made me think of the way our current culture is sitting in the seat of judgment constantly.
We all do it.
The media, the mainstream church, the Hollywood and sports celebrities, the “progressive” church, the politicians, the liberals, the socialists, the conservatives….all of us…sit as armchair critics and are in an atmosphere of open critique of everyone and everything.
We pass advice on how the governor, the president, the preacher, our neighbor, could have done this or that in such a better way. We work hard to seek out stories that make those we oppose look bad. We plan our next argument and how we can trap someone with words.
And I am reminded that in this particular weakness, Christ has given us strength to S.T.O.P. and to become more like Him.
Perhaps if we would pray and ask Him for strength to spend more time in quiet, solitary places of prayer and for strength to have discernment without having a critical spirit and wisdom for what to say and when to advance His Kingdom…well…we might just find ourselves making impossible shots that really matter for eternity <3
Well, we are halfway through the last week of February and I am scooting out the door in about 15 minutes for a dentist appointment. Anybody else have a mild freak out now when you have to take your mask off in public setting? Just me? Okay…
I want to be consistent with our visits especially during Lent so this morning I am sharing a brief insight gained from a book I am reading. A ministry team I serve on suggested a monthly book read and then discussion at end of month and this is our first go at it.
We landed on “better decisions, fewer regrets” by Andy Stanley. I wonder if he is regretting not capitalizing his Title the way his English teacher would have recommended, but that is between him and that teacher.
In the book he suggests 5 questions to ask yourself when making a decision. I am on #5 which deals with asking yourself honestly about the wisdom of what you are about to do. I wish Andy had plopped this in my hands about 45 years ago, but oh well. Old dogs can learn new tricks and I am gleaning some helpful information for the future.
The chapter on wisdom caught my attention because he speaks to my mom/grandma heart in a language I can understand. He talks about how if we see a child on the brink of possible disaster, we call out with passionate warning about the current step they are about to take.
Example being, if a small child is moving closer to a drop off into a river bank, we would start calling out to stop as the little feet kept making steps closer and closer – not when they are on the edge and about to tumble in.
He says we need to have that kind of thinking about our decisions. We tend to look at the step we are about to take and say, sure….why not? Nothing wrong with the ground right here where I am getting ready to put my foot down…but we fail to stop and just think ahead on what direction THAT step is leading us to follow.
Okay…gotta check my teeth one more time to make sure I make a good impression and then I am outta here <3