Saturday, October 11, 2014
I accidentally broke my scale (stepping on one corner) but it had a wonderful, unintended consequence: I lost about 30 pounds when I weighed the next day! Unfortunately, my clothes refuse to recognize the “new me”. But, it sure is fun to get on that broken scale and see my perfect weight.
When it comes to our spiritual life, we can feel pretty smug standing on a broken scale. I’m doing more for God at church than Lois. I’m writing more checks for charities than Howard. Comparing ourselves to other Christians is the equivalent of measuring our Christian walk by someone else’s (broken) scale. It may make us happy but it’s inaccurate. Jesus, on the other hand, tells us to be perfect or mature like Him [Matthew 5:48]. He is the true scale by which to measure our spiritual life. By that standard, I have little to smile about. I fall far short of His glory and perfection. Still a sinner. Always a sinner. I am so grateful that if I confess my sins, He is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse. Like the Apostle Paul, I can then press on to becoming more like my Savior and leave my broken spiritual scale behind.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
I’m not much of a gardener. Actually, that is a ridiculous understatement. I have the brownest thumb possible and not from dirt. So the concept of fallow ground, when it popped into my head recently, required some definition: ground that isn’t producing anything useful; ground that needs breaking up and working.
What a perfect description of my spiritual life! I realized that I’ve been just getting by with minimal effort —morning Bible reading, short prayers, saying grace at meals, church attendance, even attending a Christian gathering or two. But producing something useful? Not so much. And, what does God consider useful? A life that is dedicated to winning others to Christ. Proverbs 11:30 says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves souls”.
My heart hasn’t been fully engaged with Christ. The spirit of Christ is in my life but not being allowed to direct it, to break it up, to work it. My heart is fallow ground and God is not only a Good Shepherd, He is a Master Gardener. He has shown me today that what was once a vibrant and lush field, blooming with spiritual fruit, has fallen into disrepair. This fallow ground heart of mine needs some tending so something productive can begin to develop…so the focus of my heart can be reaching out others with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Have you ever been disappointed with the way your Christmas holiday turned out? You got sick, or your special food dishes flopped or an expected gift wasn’t under the tree. Or maybe it was something more serious: you were hospitalized, the house was burglarized or you’re facing a major car repair. Major disappointment steals your joy.
What is the real problem? Unrealistic expectations. Is there any reason why the Christmas season shouldn’t be like any other season of the year, full of good days and bad days, fun and folly? Why do we think that Christmas time is somehow exempt from the stuff of everyday living? Such disappointment stems from a worldly mindset. The Bible calls it “defilement of the world” in 2 Peter 2. Freedom from such defilement is “the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. Such knowledge promises us that if we have it, we will NEVER be disappointed (Ps. 22:5 and 1 Peter 2:6). If we are focused on Christ, rather than the events and trappings of what the world tells us produces the “perfect Christmas celebration”, we can escape holiday disappointments. A moment-by-moment awareness of Christ (having the mind of Christ 1 Cor. 2:16) is the key to avoiding disappointment—if we are tuned in to Him and always in the center of His will, gifts & holiday events will not control our emotions.
Prompt: Jesus never told us to remember his birth…His instruction was to remember His death, which gave us life.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for giving me the only gift that will never disappoint—eternal life.