Archive for November, 2013

This past weekend our area was hit with a winter storm that dropped a couple of inches of snow.  While the snow was beautiful and the moisture was certainly welcomed, the ice that came the day before made things very interesting – slick ice disguised with a dusting of beauty.

Have you ever heard the saying, “He knows just enough to be dangerous.”?  That is a phrase that was started, very likely, to describe drivers in west Texas when the roads are icy.  I have no problem navigating icy and snow covered roads when I am the only person on them.  Unfortunately, it snows in our area just enough to force people to drive on such roads but not enough to give them the experience they need to actually be able to do it safely.  The results are crazy people driving out of control and not even knowing it.

How many of us are going through life with the same reckless abandon while thinking we have it all under control?  Many get up each day with the misconception that they are actually in control of their destiny – that they can make their own way in the world.

Jesus made sure to remind us that he is the way, the truth and the life.  The fact that we are so self-centered that we actually believe this life is somehow about us is why Jesus came in the first place.  He came to show us what life is really about and to guide us through the icy spots and the dangerous conditions to a fulfilled existence.  He sacrificed himself so that you and I could have a relationship with God.

As we approach Thanksgiving – and then Advent – don’t forget that Jesus came to save us – even though we didn’t even know we needed saving.

Praise the Lord, Oh my soul!

Give thanks!

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We live in a broken world – broken people, broken relationships, broken ideas – BROKEN.  But the harsh reality of it all is that I have a part in the brokenness – – as do you.

It is my sin that contributes to the brokenness – my selfishness, my poor choices, my desires, my sin – – and yours.

Because of this broken nature of our world God made him who knew no sin to become my sin – – and your sin.

God sent Jesus to be broken for me – – and you.

Thanks be to God for loving me – – and you.

Praise be to Jesus for becoming my sin – – and yours.

Give thanks today for what God has done.

I do not deserve God’s mercy, God’s forgiveness, God’s love – – and neither do you.

Give thanks today for what God has done.

I am a new creation in Jesus through his sacrifice – through his brokenness – – are you?

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Have you ever had one of those days where your schedule goes out the window and you get to the end of it and you look at your To Do list and realize you never even looked at it much less did anything on it?  I have had 2 weeks of days like that.  Now don’t here me complaining – it has been 2 weeks of amazing things happening.  But it has prevented me from being as faithful as I want to be here with Clay In The Hands.

God has been at work and some really cool things are starting to happen in our 1st B church family and it is truly exciting.  Over the next few days I will take some time to share some of the stories.  But for today let me just say that God is GOOD!

As we approach Thanksgiving Day in just over a week, think about the blessings you have been given.

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the busyness of life that we don’t take the time to think – time to think about how God is at work and moving in our lives.  Psalm 106:1 says this,

Praise the Lord.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Stop and thank God today for the fact that regardless of your circumstances, God’s love endures forever.  God loves you as much today as yesterday.  There is nothing you could ever do to stop God from loving you.  Regardless of who you are, where you have been or what you have done, God’s love never fails – it always IS.

That is something for which to be thankful.

Live out your thanks today!

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Humility.  Some reading this word might immediately think – “weak.”  Others reading the word might think – “noble” or “honorable.”  Your understanding of this word will direct the rest of your days.  True humility is never weakness but rather the realization of whence real power comes.

But please don’t think we can treat this complex virtue of humility flippantly or casually.  True humility is a complex virtue – possibly even a cyclical undertaking in the life of a human.  Thomas Merton, in frustration of realizing this complexity cried out to God in prayer:

Lord, you have taught us to love humility, but we have not learned.  We have learned only to love the outward surface of it – the humility that makes a person charming and attractive.  We sometimes pause to think about these qualities, and we often pretend that we possess them, and that we have gained them by “practicing humility.”

If we were really humble, we would know to what extent we are liars!

Pretty straight forward words from a humble man.  You see, if we have to tell people we are humble then we aren’t.

A complex virtue indeed.

God calls us to die to ourselves – to humble ourselves – and to live completely surrendered to God and the calling on our lives.  There is an element of real freedom here that we must not miss.  God does not call us to put on a mask and try and live up to the world’s standards.  We don’t have to worry about what others think.  We don’t have to put on aires and strive to be someone we are not.  In fact, we are not even expected to be successful – regardless of how you define that word and concept.  The only expectation on us is to be faithful.

It starts with humility.

God, today, help me to realize those areas in my life where I have replaced you with desires to succeed.  Rekindle in me a passion to serve you with all that I am – sold out and and completely surrendered.    Amen

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How do you know when you have made it?  Do you just wake up one day in full contentment and say, “This is it – it just doesn’t get any better than this.”?  I would suggest that this idea is something of which movies are made and fictitious novels are written.

I am not trying to burst the bubble that is the American Dream necessarily, but stay with me.  True meaning, true contentment and true fulfillment come only when we die to ourselves and live solely for our creator.  Unfortunately, that is a process of becoming.  It does not happen in an instant.  In fact, I don’t believe it happens fully in this life.

The very idea of growing in Christ is a counter-cultural concept.  In our world, we read and hear that we can get better.  We can eat the right foods, take the right pills, read the right books and better our lives.  We are told that if we do the right things, know the right people and play our cards right, we will “make it” – we will “be somebody.”  We chase after contentment by the world’s standards but the reality is, that contentment is as illusive and transient as a pot of gold sitting in a field at the end of a rainbow – it just isn’t there.  But if the deceiver can keep us preoccupied with chasing after mist, we will never become the people God intends for us to be and live with the meaning we were created to experience.

The counter-cultural truth is that in order to really live, we must first die.  We must die to our desires to “be somebody” and focus our attention on living fully in tune with God and God’s plan for our lives.  In a word, it is about humility.  It has never been and will never be about us.  It is always about God and God’s kingdom.

We will pick up here tomorrow, but for today, remember that God’s desire for each of us is a full and meaningful life, but that only comes when we surrender completely to God.

Be a blessing today.

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