September 29, 2009

Got Grace?

There are a lot of "buzz words" in the Christian venacular. One is "grace." We use it a lot. But do we really know what it means?

I have often heard it defined as: "unmerited favor." In other words kindness from God which we don't deserve. An acronym often used for GRACE is God's riches at Christ's expense. Both of these accurately describe grace. Here's another definition that I like: the exercise of love, kindness, mercy, favor; disposition to benefit or serve another; favor bestowed or privilege conferred.


September 27, 2009

Are You Possessed

"Then he said, "Beware! Don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life is not measured by how much we own." Luke 12:15

Despite the recent economic crisis we live in decadent times. A short-term mission trip will quickly change your mind if you don't currently agree. Visit any third-world country and you will see mud huts, refugees, bloated bellies, naked or scantly clothed people. Living a life of poverty and experiecing a recession are two entirely different things.

In America mansions line upper class neighborhoods. Even our pets have beautiful houses and nice soft beds. We shop until we drop only to go back and buy more. Many live from paycheck to paycheck and others live way beyond their means. Still, we must "keep up with the Joneses" at all costs even if we ruin our health and relationships in the process. Sadly enough, no matter what we have we are never truly satisfied. We are always looking towards the next best thing and stretching to obtain it.

Jesus was careful to warn His followers about the danger of greed.

September 26, 2009

P.S. I Love You

Sitting in the beautiful symphony hall I found myself being lulled, almost to sleep, by the music. A great tune by a smooth vocalist has the power to do that to me. Because of this I was doing my best to focus on the lyrics of the song being performed. Many times lyrics when they can be understood paint vivid pictures, tell great stories, and stir an array of emotions.

September 21, 2009

Talk Is Cheap

It is hard to imagine how we might spend our remaining time in this world if we were equipped with the knowledge of when and how we were going to die. It seems that knowing would make the moments leading up to that time all the more agonizing. We would be consumed with an array of emotions ranging from panic to terror. After all…we are only human.

Jesus was fully God and fully man. As such, in the remaining hours of His life He made a stunning choice. He choose to take twelve men aside, one of which had already put His death in motion, and give them an object lesson.

Trophies




"Though the Lord is on high, Yet He regards the lowly." Psalm 138:6

There were wounds that now are scars
Forever fixed in place
Scenes etched in my memory
That time cannot erase

I don't understand Lord
All that You have done
But the scars have become trophies
Of the battles You have won


There were times I felt despair
Lost and so alone
Yet You had gone before me
I was never on my own

I dropped my sword in anguish
Feeling the weight of my defeat
Then You brought my enemies before me
And laid them at my feet

When words of strong rejection
Cut through me like a knife
The pain was so unbearable
I despaired even of my life

You picked me up and held me
Whispering softly in my ear
"My child these things I have allowed
So that you'll draw even nearer"

You have picked me up Lord Jesus
When the road has been too long
I was weak and so weary
You are awesome and so strong

I don't understand Lord
All that You have done
But all around me I see trophies
Of the battles You have won


September 17, 2009

No Fishing Allowed

I don’t like to admit it but my memory is not as good as I would like it to be. It seems to serve me well some days but on other days I suffer from something that I refer to as “CRS” or “can’t remember stuff.” Perhaps you have had a bout or two of “CRS” yourself. If so you know it is unpredictable and annoying. Why, because we want to remember what is important to us. When we can't it can be downright frustrating.

I was reflecting on the subject of forgiveness recently and came to an interesting conclusion. God, our Heavenly Father, has “CRS”, too. But guess what? He has it on purpose.

September 16, 2009

Bury The Past or It Will Bury You

“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19

I recently read a story about the hippopotamus. A zoologist observed that these animals would not leave a lake that they had become familiar with. Even if it dried up they stood there until they died because their minds couldn't move beyond the past memories of a lake once filled with water.

As one Christian blogger put it “they died where they stood, not wanting to go forward, because they wanted to live in the past, where it had always been comfortable for them.”

It is hard to imagine a hippo literally stuck in the mud of a drying pool of water. Even harder to picture is such a large animal dying where it stands because it lacks the ability to see past what it had and go find what it needs to live—water.

Yet there is a lesson we can learn from the hippo. We cannot live in the past and embrace the future. Actually, we need to bury our past or it will bury us.

September 15, 2009

Sacred Cows

We got an interesting call from my Mom last night. She and some of her friends had gone on a day trip to see another friend who recently moved. Day came and went and as night closed in I began to worry.

When the phone rang, I expected it to be my Mom calling to say she was home. Instead she reported that they were almost home but would be a bit delayed because they had hit a cow.

Yes, you read it right, a cow.

September 13, 2009

The Fire

"When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flames scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." Isaiah 43:2-3

Everyone has answers
Yet the questions still remain
Is Your Word hidden in my heart really true
Yesterday, today, forever the same

September 11, 2009

Fruit Flies and The Devil's Lies


"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12

While the entire world around me slept, I was on a cleaning binge. As I waxed the kitchen table, I spied dust collecting on the crystal fruit basket which holds a few cloth napkins and some of the most impressive fake fruit you have ever seen.

As I carried the basket over to the sink to empty the fruit and wash it, I was a little surprised to find some dead fruit flies lying in the bottom of the basket. Chuckling to myself, I thought, “Gee, we must have the dumbest fruit flies in the world in Tennessee.”

Apparently they had met their fate while swarming around the beautiful fruit. Fruit that, unfortunately for them, was fake. It is one thing for a person or two to be occasionally fooled, but why in the world would these little experts on swarming delicious, sweet, overly ripened fruit, die for a lie?

The longer that I thought about the question, the sillier it became to me until the Holy Spirit began His gentle teaching. As He began to show me how fruit flies and the devil’s lies applied to God’s people, the concept at which I had once chuckled suddenly did not seem quite so funny.

Grit and Bear or Grin and Share


All of us face circumstances that cause minor and major disturbances in our lives. Many of us, if the truth were to be told, deal with situations that others could not even begin to wrap their minds around. We find ourselves "enduring" the "unendurable." Why? Because we must.

How we face and deal with these situations is very important as a believer. You see, as living epistles being read by all men, it is not so much the fact that we endure that catches the eyes of others but the manner in which we do so.

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