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Archive for March, 2016

What motivationdrives you?  What, when you really think about it, keeps you up at night?

On Wednesday nights, I lead a Bible study and right now we are working through the book of Ecclesiastes.  It has been said that this book is the least read (and even less understood) book in the Bible.  If you have read any of the book, you know that it is not the stuff of greeting card sentiment.  It is a dark and seemingly pessimistic book.  In fact, most weeks I remind the attendees of the study that we should not go home, curl up in the fetal position and refuse to get out of bed.

What runs through the book like a bungee strap holding it together is the idea that everything “under the sun” is meaningless.

Everything under the sun . . .

In other words, if our only concern is what happens in the here and now, then we will come to the same conclusion as the writer of Ecclesiastes – it is all meaningless, “a chasing after the wind.”

In chapter 4, the writer makes a strong statement.  He says, “all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another.”  That statement should give you pause and cause some serious reflection.

So back to the original question for the day – what drives you?  I have to admit that I am not immune to being driven by envy.  I see the “success” of others and say, “I could do that.”  But when we allow our motivation to be envy and competition, we will come to the same realization – it all leads no where and amounts to nothing.

But, when our motivation is beyond the sun – when our drive comes from a desire to live for Christ and honor God – then our efforts do lead somewhere and our lives will count for something.

So what drives you?  What is the source of your motivation for today?

Live this day for God.

You won’t regret it!

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Rain and windWednesday is trash pick up day in our neighborhood.  So this morning, before leaving for the office, I pulled our trash bin to the curb.  Now, last night the prediction was that we would get rain overnight and into today.  When I opened the garage door to go to the side gate to get our trash bin, I noticed it had not rained enough to even get the driveway wet.

But as I opened the gate to retrieve the bin, it began to rain.  By the time I added a trash bag from the house and pulled the bin through the gate, it was pouring.  So I ran back to the garage to grab an umbrella.  Of course, as I described our level of being settled in our home in yesterday’s post, I could not find one.  I knew there was one in the back of my car so I ran out to the car to get the umbrella (the car is not in the garage because it is so full of stuff we still haven’t found a home for that the cars sit outside).

Protected by the umbrella, I pulled both the trash and recycle bins to the curb – of course by now I was soaked and my shoes were covered in mud.  So I retreated to the garage to remove my shoes and clean them off.  Just as I got my shoes wiped down, the rain stopped!

Just stopped!

Have you ever felt like the world dumps on you and you alone – that the cosmos is just against you?  Or to think on another level, have you noticed that sometimes this following Jesus thing seems harder than not following him?

The truth is, nature does not single you out to reek havoc on your day.  There is no gremlin watching you, waiting for the right moment to throw a wrench in your plans.  We live in a fallen world and sometimes life happens.

That is why scripture teaches us that we should run with endurance and perseverance.  Hebrews 12:1-3 says,

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Following Jesus is not for the faint of heart.  It takes effort on our part.  But always remember that no matter what life throws at us, Jesus promises to be right by our side.

Now where did I put that umbrella?

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We have been in our home here in Corpus Christi now for almost 5 months but to say we are settled in would be a stretch.  You know how you feel when you need something and  you know it has to be here but you just can’t find it?  Depending on what it is, it can lead to desperation when your search turns up nothing.  When we first moved in, this was a daily occurrence.  At least now, it only happens about once or twice per week – this morning it was an umbrella.

In life, we chase after a lot of things – that career, that perfect house, the accolades that we expect from hard work, comfort and peace.  We spend our lives in pursuit, never satisfied and never content.

Scripture teaches us that there is something – or rather someone –  we should seek before all else.  Jesus words tell us that we should seek after God’s Kingdom before all else and when we do, all these other things will come, but it starts with seeking God.

deer-and-waterI have to ask myself, “Do I seek God before all else?”  Am I desperately seeking a relationship with Jesus?  The Psalmist paints a vivid picture in chapter 42.  He says in verses 1 and 2, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

Does your soul literally pant for God?  Are you desperately seeking the Father as if your life depended on finding Him?

The reality is, your soul does.

Seek God today.

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Do you ever have one of those days when you feel the wind is blowing from every direction?  A day when nothing seems to go right?  A day when you think, “I would be better off to go home and go back to bed?”

While we might not look forward to these kinds of days, we can count on the fact that we will have them.  And on these days when we feel we are all alone and no one could possibly understand, just remember God’s promise, “Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because GOD, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” (Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:6‬ ‭MSG‬‬)

Take heart today.  Face this day with hope.  The sun will come up tomorrow and until then, God is with you!

Be blessed today!

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God’s grace is truly amazing!  We all need it.  In fact, we would be utterly lost without it.  Scripture reminds us that there has only been one person to live on this earth without any Worship BWsin.  I have to confess – his name is not Brian!  Jesus experienced all things just as we do, and yet without sin – without dis-obeying the Father – without messing up (Hebrews 4:15).

We have a tendency to look for the bad in others but when it comes to ourselves, we often only see the good.  But, if we take a closer look – an honest look – we will see those things we have hidden on the dark side of our hearts.  There are those things that we think no one knows.

But we know.

We try to forget.  We work to hide.  But that sin is there – creating a division at our core between ourselves and God.

This season, moving toward the cross, our focus turns toward the sacrifice Christ made for us.  He made that sacrifice so that there would be no division – absolutely no separation -between my heart and the Father.  He made that same sacrifice for you as well.  Grace is nothing we earn, or it wouldn’t really be grace.  Grace extends to the dark side of the heart to cover over the sins lurking there.

All we must do is accept that grace.  Open your heart to God’s grace today.  Confess those things to Jesus that you want to think he doesn’t already know.

Lay those things down and live into his liberating grace.

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