Showing posts from January, 2014
Would you like to get well?

Familiarity, comfort, the safety of the known. There's something endearing to our nature to be in the familiar. My wife's dog barks at the door - he wants to go out. So we let him out, and then he barks because he wants to come in. He likes the freedom, but something is tying him back to the comfort of people and the house.

I can relate to that. There is something in my nature that keeps me from being too free. Gotta have something to worry about, right? Well, maybe you can relate to the invalid by the pool of Bethesda in John 5. He was an invalid for 38 years. That's a long time. That's a long time to get comfortable with a condition, no matter how uncomfortable that condition is.

In fact, that's long enough to make you think things will never change; maybe even make you think it would be too scary if things actually did change.

So Jesus asks the man a simple question, "Would you like to get well?" But the man's answer was not…
The enemy loves to question your motives.

Just like the evil sheriff of Nottingham, he'll accuse your heart and question your intent. "Why Robin, you help these poor people simply for the glory, because you want to feel loved." The continual tossing of the nagging questioning over the fence, "Why are you doing this?" The enemy of your soul trying to erode your confidence; always questioning the heart behind the action.

But even more evil, even more detrimental than his accusations and questioning of your intent, is his desire to get you to question your own heart. But in this we must stand confident. You are God's own; born again, good-hearted. In fact if you were a character plugged into the Robin Hood saga, your last name would be Goodheart. For He has given you a heart of a flesh, a heart that cares and is genuine in its motives. Sincere.

It's no wonder that the enemy of your soul would try to cause you to question your heart. No, we are not unaware of …
Of Loxley
I love the story of Robin Hood; at least the way the BBC presents it. He's a hero, a noble man, self-sacrificing, always escaping the perils of evil through some last minute heroic act. Good triumphs over evil, mercy over injustice. Reminds me of our walk with the Lord.

Sometimes daily, we face the arrows of our enemy, facing possible attack around every corner. Always in danger of the fiery darts of his lies. At times we find ourselves bound, held captive for a season by shackles intended to keep our heroic acts at bay and to keep us from inflicting harm on his evil kingdom.

And then we face the pain that surrounds us as those who need our help, our prayers, cry out through the blanket of injustice that has been thrown on them by the evil sheriff. And so we fight for them, wielding our sword and battling; returning the good things that were stolen from them.

It's an epic story. If only we would see it that way. If we would just have our eyes opened for a moment, we woul…
God does not view you by your perspective.

We all have good days and bad days; days when we're flying high and feeling so tight and connected with God, and days when we couldn't feel more distant from Him. But in the midst of our fluctuating emotions, through the dynamics of our ever changing thoughts and feelings, one thing does not change - God's view of our relationship with Him.

When we said yes to Jesus, something amazing happened. God's perspective of us became His perspective of His perfect Son, Jesus. You have been adopted. And just as a parent's child doesn't stop being a parent's child because of something wrong they've done or because of how they feel, so you don't stop being God's kid. Your performance does not dictate your standing. No, Jesus' performance dictates your standing!

This is not what life or experience has taught us, though. As children we easily pick up on the disappointment in a parent's eyes. As adults, we sheepi…
there's a rope tied around my foot.
It keeps me down, keeps me from flying.
the rope is a lie, a seed of deception that has been sown.
it says you've gone too far, you've fallen away beyond His grace

it's the rope of oppression
it keeps me down

all i have to do is lift my foot out of that rope.
it is loose and has no real power over me

the rope offers safety, lets i go too far in freedom
it has a length, to keep me from going to far
it is a lie, it is bondage

when i think i'm about to fly, 
the rope reminds me that i cannot
the rope is only a lie, it's only a lie
God's grace goes father than i ever have
Still i remain His beloved son

and i grow and i serve, but the rope keeps me from going to far

only Jesus can free from this rope
and the rope in desperation says, no, you cannot reach out to Jesus, you've gone too far
but it is a lie, the rope is a lie

only Jesus can free me from this rope
only He can break the bondage that holds me there and forgive the guilt of my fai…
The Year of the Family
What does your investment portfolio look like? I'm not referring to your 401K or other financial investments. I hope that looks good and I hope you can retire comfortably on those investments. No, I'm talking about something far more important than a cash reserve or retirement fund. I'm talking about your human investments portfolio.

How much time do you put away each week into your people-account? What does your family member deposit register look like? For while investing financially is good and wise, you must remember; that will only yield temporary results. Of greater importance is the investment we make as fathers, neighbors, children into those whose lives our lives intersect with.

My family has begun a weekly investment of time together; a time free of technology and other distractions. A time of us as a family. And this new year endeavor requires more than just time. It requires effort. It requires loss - the loss of
investing time and effort in…

"Surely He will save you from the fowler's snare ..." (Psalm 91:3)

You will free me from the Fowler's snare. The snare meant to entrap us, to hold us captive until we become weak and are vulnerable to the enemy's lies. The snare that we wander into; whether on purpose or not. 

The path to that snare is deception. Whispers from the enemy, wrong thinking from within ourselves. Whatever its source, the end result is the same - fear. Fear that we are alone, trapped. Mixed with the anxiety that comes from feeling unforgiven. 

We all drift; it's in our nature. But God understands our nature, and therefore, He is merciful. He knows our frame, that we are but dust. He sees us in this spiritual battle over our very souls and like a good Captain, He watches over us. He is our Deliverer. Our Savior.

And we are not alone.

So, when we find ourselves trapped, tied down by the fowler's snare, we can hold on to a promise from God. I will not leave you there, I will free…
The Beauty of the Lord

What makes someone beautiful? Their looks? Their personality? Their disposition? Or maybe their form, their shape. I think if you go deep enough, you'll find that true beauty resides in on'es character; the essence of who they are, what makes them up. What motivates them.

Look at the Lord, for example. We don't "see" Him as in gazing on His appearance. But we do know Him. We know Him as a patient, kind, loving, wise, skilled (He created all we see around us!) And maybe we can take a gander at some of His beauty through the creation all around us. The faithfulness of the seasons, the beauty of a sunset over an ocean. The thrill and miracle of a baby being born. We can see His beauty in all of these things.

But we also see His beauty in His character; in His glory - Who He is. He is the One who gave up His rights to buy us back to Himself - to rescue the ungrateful. He is the one Who opened His arms to the prodigal, who picks us up after we fall…
Pathways and Rivers

I will make a pathway through the wilderness, I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. (Is 43:19, NLT). 

God calls Himself strong in our weakness. His strength is perfected where we are weak. He takes our weak spots, our rough edges, our physical limitations, our emotional handicaps and shows His strength as sufficient through them. He becomes able when we are disabled. His strength is realized when ours is not.

In other words, our deficiency gives His sufficiency room to work. Are you weak in an area? Thank God for it. Thank Him that in that weakness, His strength will become perfect. Not your strength - His. Boast about it. "Hey, I'm really weak in this area! Yeeha! Room for God's perfect strength!"

And He does the impossible. In those areas of our life that are overgrown, unmanageable, wild, untamed, gnarly and thorny, He comes in and makes a pathway. He makes a way for you to walk safely in the midst of your mess. A pathway through your wild-nes…