Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Is This Love That We're Feelin'??

Remember that Whitesnake song?? That mega power ballad of 1988?? I see you, acting like you didn't love it...well I still wear my hair proudly coiffed like Tawny Kitaen's so I am stating boldly that I was a Whitesnake fan. I can also say definitively this is not the biggest mistake I made in the late 80's....But admit it girls, we all wished we could do cartwheels over the hood of a Jaguar, Yeah, I didn't either.

The point that is so slow in appearing is this notion of "love." I have a HUGE pet peeve. It seems strange to talk about starting a fight with someone over saying "I love you", but this is the truth about me...Is it just me??

How many times in church do you have a marginally familiar acquaintance strike up a conversation with you in the lobby, or demilitarized zone of your crazy cool church. You talk about this and that and realize it is time to move on to the next coffee induced exchange. You swoop in for the Christian side hug and they say, "love you"......WHAT do you do?? Do you leave them that girlfriend/boyfriend that is a little too anxious is barfing out the L word. You know in your heart that you don't actually LOVE just KNOW them from church.

Enter my pet peeve. You know what God said...that he so LOVED the world that he gave his only Son, John 3:16. You cannot be anywhere but under a rock in this country and not know what that verse is. THAT is love!!! Not, "hey, you go to my church. I love you." We throw that word around so much that it becomes MEANINGLESS!!! Love is a big deal. How many people have said that to me casually, with good intentions, that I don't even have their phone number to invite them over to dinner???

Love sacrifices, love endures, love hurts alongside you, love protects and love does a whole lot of other stuff too. All I want to say is be careful with such an important word. Love is a big deal not how we feel about a really tasty chili dog. Let's not cheapen the word by attaching it to things that are really meaningless.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I love the way C.S. Lewis communicates. I would say that I wish I could write like him but I know that God uniquely wired me up to be me, not C.S. Lewis. But I ran across something in "The Screwtape Letters" that inspired me this morning. I'll let Lewis tell it his way, "He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs–to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. We can drag our patients along by continual tempting, because we design them only for the table, and the more their will is interfered with the better. He cannot ‘tempt’ to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys."

He is pleased even with their stumbles. I like this...alot. If you don't believe this, read the book of Job. The cosmic wager that Satan initiated with God. The arrogance and assurance with which Satan proposed man was only loyal to God because of what God can do for us. Then God says one of my favorite things, "Have you considered my servant Job?" Do you think God was surprised that Job remained faithful?? Do you think God was surprised that Job questioned and wrestled with God?? God knew Job's heart. Even though Job was the most righteous man on the Earth it was not his piety that God loved. It was Job's heart. Job makes this so clear when he says, "Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him." Job suffered dearly, but that isn't the point. Job trusted God over anything he felt or experienced.

Take this with you today. Job had lots of questions and was confused about a lot of things. BUT. Job didn't have the benefit of the behind the scenes drama like we do. From the very beginning, before Job lost everything, God had faith in Job too. God knew that Job would come through. God believes in me and he believes in you. He wouldn't have wasted His Son on an unworthy cause.

So to use C.S. Lewis again, God is not so much concerned with the stumbling. It is in the reaching up for Him that matters.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Randomness and Grace

Alright people. I started writing about grace. Which led me to worship and my gratitude for being saved from the wrath that I deserve as a sin-filled person. Then I remembered a question that I posed on my facebook page. Just in case you missed that brilliance: "Would you rather have a ketchup-dispensing navel or a pencil sharpening nostril?" Seriously. What kind of brain could in one second ponder God's wrath on sin and in the next, make a legitimate case for why it would be beneficial to have ketchuppy goodness dispensing at will from my belly button. Now I'm off to the next hair brained train of thought....

Here is my verse for the day, "For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. (This is the point where I say a hearty "AMEN") But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Anybody feel foolish? God chose you. Anybody feel weak? God chooses to use His power mightily in you. Have you ever felt low?? or despised in the world?? Jesus Christ was despised more than all of us....and he was blameless. He understands how it feels to take the blame for something that was not His fault. I'm not going to go into some rant about not having to be perfect and God accepting you for what you are. I'm gonna go here instead...

Grace. Pure undeserved grace. You know what the truth about me is?? As weak, and low and wretched as I am...I'm so much worse than I even know. Grace protects me from seeing the full heinous, ugliness of my sin, of your sin. We couldn't stand the shame of knowing the fullness of it. Amazing, beautiful grace. When I am standing in front of Jesus in all His glory, one of the reasons I will sing praises to Him forever is because then I will know. I will see His holiness and I will know what Christ spared me from. I'll know what my fate would have been had He not chosen the weak and imperfect.

I'll probably even forget all about the regret I have for not choosing the pencil sharpening nostril.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Great Big God

I just had a conversation where the story behind the book "90 Minutes in Heaven" was explained to me. There are some theological questions that I won't address but the facts of what happened are undisputed. Don Piper was pronounced dead at the scene of a horrific accident, having been hit head on in his Ford Escort by a semi-tractor trailer. The extent of his injuries are brutally graphic. He has just left a pastor's conference. The paramedics worked on him to no avail and declared him to be dead. 90 minutes later a pastor who had been at the conference came upon the scene, got out and asked if there was anyone there he could pray for. The attendants told him no, they had one fatality. He then heard an audible voice telling him to pray for the man in the car. He then squeezed his way into the backseat of the mangled vehicle and laid his hand on the only appendage that was attached to the dead man. He prayed then started singing the hymn "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." After a few minutes, the dead man, Don Piper, started singing along. Ummm...this "dead" guy isn't dead anymore!!!

Okay. Truth time. Do we stop praying sometimes because we resign ourselves to "God's will"? Is that it? Or do we give up because we don't trust Him enough? It would require us to be vulnerable, to keep praying when we feel like it's a done deal. Well, you can't get more done than DEAD!!!

God does POWERFUL things when we pray. Check out James 5:17-18 "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore it's fruit." That is supernatural. Here is some homework for 1 John 5:14-15, Philippians 4:6-7, James 5:16, Romans 8:26, Matthew 17:15. Just for starters.

You know why I think David was a man after God's heart?? Think about it. He was a young shepherd, the youngest son of King Saul, his oldest brother Eliab was the general of Saul's army. There was David, a KID!! But he was indignant that any giant would cast dispersions on the God of Israel!! He refused Saul's armor and walked up to Goliath with a rock and CRACK. GRAVE YARD DEAD, as Jerry Clower would say....David knew his God. David knew what God could do. David knew that God would get the glory because the battle belonged to God ALONE!!

When we give it up to God and lean on His power all we have to do is ask. God knows that our greatest joy, our greatest satisfaction will come when God alone is glorified in us. So let's just pray and allow God to be our Giant killer!!