Saturday, December 31, 2011
Friday, December 30, 2011
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Our greatest blessings and annoyances deal with the same thing- people. We all must have others in our lives to thrive and do well. We all desperately need others in our lives for us to be mentally and physically healthy. It's a strange thing, but the very thing that is necessary for us to be healthy can also make us sick.
Monday, December 26, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
This year, to be honest, my hearts not into Christmas. I'm not excited about it. In fact I'm feeling rather a Scrooge about the whole thing. I could easily go into a monologue about consumerism and how crazy it is to spend money for gifts while we lose sight of the real meaning of the season, but that whole discussion has been done to death.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
"We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!"
These words are from Paul's pen in 1 Corinthians 13. He's writing to describe our vision problem. You see we all see poorly when it comes to the things of God and the reality of what is going on around us. We all find ourselves near-sighted. The things of God and the truths about our world are fuzzy at best. With our vision problems we often can only see shadows and shapes.
There is a desire to see clearly, but our vision problems will only be resolved at last when we see the Lord face to face. In the meantime we have to use glasses. We have to have help to see. In our world we all know what glasses look like. They are used to correct our vision problems.
In spiritual things most of us have no idea what "spiritual glasses" look like. The fact is that without them none of us can see clearly. The "spiritual glasses" we need to see well is God's word, the bible. This is the correction for our near-sighted vision. God's word is meant to give us clear vision about the things of life, reality, relationship and the future. Only his word can give us 20/20 vision.
Many continue to deny they need glasses as they look at shapes and shadows describing them in this way, "It looks like...", "It could be...." and with great and grand words and a knowing tone they wax eloquent on things they can only see dimly, things that are at best fuzzy.
What's sad to me is that many Christians believe the near-sighted men of the world rather than wear the glasses of God's word. They trust those can only guess instead of looking clearly through the lens of God's word to see what really is. Jesus once healed a man of blindness who said, "I see men, but they look like trees." Jesus once more touched him until he could see clearly. God wants us to see clearly and that vision correction only comes through his word.
We are all near-sighted. We all live with blurred vision. We all need glasses to see clearly. The only glasses that will ever give us clarity to see the way things really are is God's word. When you can't see clearly go to the bible and you will find you suddenly have 20/20 vision.
"If you are looking to your obedience for blessing or approval, then you are still under the law. It is not your faithfulness or obedience that blesses you, it is HIS! Stop trying so hard to obey and be good, receive by faith what Jesus did for you and you will obey better on accident than you ever could on purpose. It is His righteousness that makes you right with God, not yours. He did it all so you wouldn't have to."
-from my friend Amy (quoted from a youth pastor she knows)
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
I just started reading the book of Job again. What an amazing book!
"Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
I wonder, as I read his words, what he was thinking. Grief was there I'm sure. Confusion about God's ways is there without question. Sadness. Loneliness. Fear. A hundred different emotions and thoughts I can only imagine, but from his mouth comes a trust in God in spite of his lack of information.
Often it's simply knowing that God is good in the midst of confusion about our circumstances. If God loves me. If God is good. If I can trust him then my circumstances do not change my commentary on God.
Even in the midst of not knowing "why" Job knew he could trust God and from his mouth came a trust that didn't need all the answers. Could it be that knowing God is more important than knowing why?
Friday, December 09, 2011
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Photo by Mike Messerli
Sunday, December 04, 2011
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
"...the disciples were finding fault with each other because they had forgotten to bring bread. Jesus overheard and said, "Why are you fussing because you forgot bread? Don't you see the point of all this? Don't you get it at all? Remember the five loaves I broke for the five thousand? How many baskets of leftovers did you pick up?"
They said, "Twelve."
"And the seven loaves for the four thousand—how many bags full of leftovers did you get?"
He said, "Do you still not get it?"
What an interesting question from Jesus, "Do you still not get it?" In other versions the wording is, "are your hearts hardened?" It's clear, from these miracles, they were supposed to understand something but they had completely missed it. They were right there in the middle of miracles and missed the purpose of it all!
A little earlier in Mark, as they struggled with the oars on the lake, Jesus came to them walking on the water and said to them, "Courage! It's me. Don't be afraid." In that brief statement is the thing they were supposed to get. It's right there in the middle of three short statements. Between his admonition to take courage and "don't be afraid" is the "secret" they (and we) are to get. Here it is- "It's me!" In the English we miss it entirely, but in the Greek it's once more a declaration of who he is, the very thing they were to learn from all the miracles.
"It's me." The two Greek words are ἐγώ εἰμι. In English Jesus is saying "I am". It's the same claim he made in John 8:58 and was nearly stoned for. It's the same name God told Moses to use to describe himself in Exodus 3. It's a claim to deity. As he walked on the water to these weary fishermen Jesus encouraged them. Between their lack of courage and their fears he reassured them with this- "I am" is here.
Some say that Jesus never claimed to be God, but standing on the sea of Galilee he proclaims it loud and clear, "Take courage, I'm God, don't be afraid." It's the same thing he says to us, the same thing he wants us to know, because he's God we can be courageous and abandon our fears. God is in our midst.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Many of us, over the years, have memorized scripture. We memorize it because these are God's words to us. They inspire us, help us, teach us. Paul wrote that all of scripture is inspired and so it's all valuable to teach, to guide, to help us. Here's a verse for you to memorize,