Archive for February, 2013

21
Feb
13

it makes a difference

Be-Thankful-FlikrIn the first chapter of Romans there is a description of humankind in our worst state. Paul defines the condition by saying this group of individuals were practicing foolish behavior, in a state of degradation, living a lie, subjugated by their lusts, given over to an unnatural mind and displaying the worst behavior humankind is capable of.

What caused this deplorable condition? Paul tells us very candidly that what got people to this place was their lack of thankfulness.

On the surface this seems too simple. I am well aware that being ungrateful is not socially appealing and that it has been proven by psychologists and sociologists to be detrimental to our mental well-being and physical health, but, come on, could it really be the cause of all our social ills? When you think of all the atrocities ever perpetrated by people against other people can we really say, much less believe, that all of that evil had its roots in a lack of thankfulness? Paul seemed to think so.

As I have considered this I have come to realize the truth behind the principle. I realized that when I begin to focus on what I don’t have, rather than being thankful for what God has blessed me with, I tend to become unsettled in my spirit. If unchecked I can become agitated and annoyed by the perceived injustice being perpetrated against me. I tend to become egocentric at that point and begin to scheme how I can acquire what I think will make me happy. I then begin to resent those who have what I don’t. (Read James 4.) Thankfully, somewhere along the way to this point, the conviction of the Holy Spirit kicks in and I repent, reevaluate my situation and seek God’s forgiveness and plan for my life. But what happens if someone doesn’t do that? It seems obvious that the only two choices are to live in a miserable state of bitterness or take matters into your own hands and satisfy your lust no matter what you have to do, and no matter who is harmed in the process. Thus, the afore mentioned atrocities.

With that in mind, I want to live my life with an spirit of gratitude to the glory of God.

14
Feb
13

a love like that

heart_hand_love_hdIn a recent sermon I was talking about the epic love God has for us and I cited a David Crowder Band song entitled, “Surely We Can Change” There is a line in the song that states:

“And I don’t know
What to do with a love like that
And I don’t know
How to be a love like that.”

That lyric literally haunts me. It haunts me because I am mystified by the enormity of God’s love. I struggle to embrace this love that I don’t deserve and that I am completely unworthy of. I grimace at the the thought of it, realizing how often I have ignored it or taken it for granted. I am bewildered when I remember that Scripture declares that while I was unlovable God demonstrated his love for me in a graphic way. No wonder Paul encourages believers every where “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:18, 19

But there’s more, much more. It’s that part that says, “I don’t know how to be a love like that.” The truth is, sometimes I don’t want God to love me so much. There isn’t any self-deprecation in that statement, in fact, just the opposite. Let me explain what I mean. I want God to love me enough to forgive me and grant me entrance into heaven. But there are times that I don’t want him to love me so purely that it requires me to “be a love like that”. I have come to find that the more I “grasp…the love of Christ” the greater requirement it places upon me to love God and others with the same intensity that I have been loved. And to be frank, there are some occasions when my selfishness and self-centered nature would prefer to have it’s own way. But in those moments I am brought face to face with God’s epic love and it calls me to a higher standard, and thus, the title of the song, I must change.

Thankfully, little by little, I am.

07
Feb
13

the fullness of time

impatientThere was a television show back in the 80’s that always ended with the lead character declaring, “I love it when a plan comes together”. I’m the same way. I hate lose ends. I can become very anxious, neurotic really, if I have too many projects or situations in my life that don’t seem to be moving towards closure as quickly as I would like. I want to jump into those type of situations and get some resolve, even if it’s artificial and temporary, rather than waiting for a resolution to come in God’s perfect way.

This is really one of the things about God that has driven me nuts in the past. No matter how hard I beg or plead in order to get him to do what I want, when I want, he never gets in a hurry. Ever! He always waits until just the right time to act. And, as result, the outcome is always better than anything I could have devised, or even imagined.

I am learning how to wait patiently on God, and it is getting easier, but I still have my anxious moments. It’s foolish on my part, but sometimes, in the midst of the crisis or difficulty, I forget that God is fully aware of the circumstances and that he has a plan
to bless me, and any of his children who are involved in the situation, even though we might have to go through some “stuff” and patiently endure for a season. In the end, there is a reward though. When the fullness of time (“the right time”) has come God has promised to reveal his perfect plan and the result will be the peace and joy that we long for.