Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Bad Dawg....

No I dont have a dog, and if I did he wouldn't be bad, I recently read an article of about a NFL football player who blamed his dropped pass on God.  The pressure was on in overtime and he drops the pass.  When I read this I respond in way of saying, are you kidding? God made you drop that pass?  Responsibility.  Sometimes we can stay in our "safe zone" when we dont take responsibility for things, by pushing the blame away, it doesn't land upon us.  This is by no means a doom and gloom thought for today but instead one of honesty.

In order for us to experience everything God has for us there comes a point to where we own up to our own actions, thoughts, etc.  Christ's grace is more than enough for us, but really to understand His grace and forgiveness fully, we have to come to grips with our own decisions apart from Him.  That is what makes His Grace, Forgiveness, Peace and Love so amazing! 

So what....we can make poor decisions, does that define our worth?  No, it should cause us concern but not undermine who we are.  We are ID'd as Christ's own, His children, bought with a price.  We need to only respond out of that identity to walk out true LIFE.  Next time the pressure is on, you are in the "endzone" to win it, remember, God is most concerned about His relationship with you than you looking great in front of screaming fans.  How empty and dull it actually is when we settle for what the world thinks of us based off what we can do, versus what God says about us based on whose we are.  "In Him we Live and move and have our being". 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


No the title is not about a new version of UFC or old skool WWF.  Have you ever worn shoes that make your heal raw?  Or you have work hard and your hands get raw, etc and so forth.  That is no fun, it really affects your day to day life. 

In a different way RAW or (Ready And Willing) can be seen in our walks with Christ.  Sometimes we just feel completely sore and raw.  We think the pain is bad and that God is upset with us and so we repent, and walk in condemnation for feeling the way we do.  If RAW means ready and willing then maybe Gods purpose is really to allow us to become Ready And Willing.

What are things that you think of when you read that?  Be ready to give it all?  Sell everything you have?  Be willing to be a martyr?  Do we stop and wonder how martyrs of the past or people who gave up material possessions did it?  Or why?  Is it because you are a "real" christian if you live poor? Or that you need to look for a way to die for Jesus?

I have been thinking about this lately, I believe what the most important thing that Jesus Christ is after is not your sacrifice, but rather your obedience.  Now hold your thoughts here, I'm not talking about tithing, witnessing, etc.  I believe those things are very important, but the importance I am talking about here is to be obedient in the area of receiving from God.  I believe why anyone who laid down their lives or lived in the slums for Christ is not because they went to do it to be a good Christian but rather they had received something so amazing from Christ that they were compelled.  Compelled by His love in them, circumstances will happen, it is up to us to just respond to what God asks of us.  Let Him worry about the details.

To make it short and sweet, God loves you, it is not selfish nor is it wrong to make it your first priority to receive His love and grace.  Why else would we be able to walk in obedience?  We obey because He loves us, not the other way around.   Lets be Ready and Willing. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Screaming so quietly

What is normal?  To each person "normal" could be what they live in or grew up in.  There is a different standard if you will on which each person measures what it is to walk in what is normal.  To me normal is getting up, getting ready for work and driving, the same route, expecting the same things of work as the week before.  The list can go on and on.  Have you ever had that notion that what is normal may not be true?  If I am color blind, (which I'm not and I'm not poking fun at anyone who is) but that doesn't change that the color is actually there, regardless of my perception.  We have things that are screaming so quietly at us, telling us what is normal, it pushes us, pulls us. 

Could it be that what is meant to be normal, is actually experiencing and knowing God?  Our feelings can lead us around like a dog chasing a squirrel that he just can't catch.  Focus on what you know, not what you don't know, for some reason we have come to the conclusion that we can think things out and make them reality.  What if reality is looking at us right in the face and God is saying, "Let me remove the stray thoughts and distractions from your mind, and listen".    May God define our normal today. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Everyone else...bad drivers

Ever heard someone say, man people here in (insert state or city) have no clue how to drive?  It truly is amazing how we hear that everywhere and we can say that with such confidence.  Today while driving around for work a guy was tailgating me, he kept "throwing his hands up in the air", I mean this guy was a great mime!  Only I don't think I would allow him around children, he didn't seem very nice.  After a few seconds of him doing this I wondered to myself, uh...what's you're deal dude?  I'm just driving here, take a chill pill. 

It became a battle of wits (my imagination vs what he was displaying).  Oh for all of you to be a fly on the wall of my brain....OK maybe not a good image.  My point being is this, how quickly I took on someone Else's deal or problem.  In life we will be going about our days and someone else will come along and "waive their hands in the air", tell you to "get out of the way".  We take it personal, if you are like me, our response is "What!!! do you know who you are talking to?" 

When we think we are in charge of making life happen for ourselves, making the world spin, we can freak out on just about anyone or anything.  We quickly realize we can barely do anything by ourselves, we weren't meant to.  We weren't meant to.  "In Him we live and move and have our being"- Acts 17:28.   Next time we see "the worst driver in the US" before us or behind us, may it remind us, that we live and move and have our being in Christ.  I pray that the man behind me today in traffic comes to know the Life of Christ, was I mad? um yes...but that doesn't mean that He is less worthy of the Love of God.   What a day.  Tonight I see my best friend.  Have a good Friday my friends.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Meeting up

Coffee.....bagel.....slowly...eating...mmmmm.  A nice tasty bagel, coffee and slumping down in your cubicle at work.  Today unlike yesterday is sunny outside, tons of leaves falling.  Its pretty cool where I live because the leaves almost cover your entire car when you come out of the house in the morning.  A few months back I had put a post on my facebook, (which I no longer have) and it talked about what we have gotten used to as Christians. 

For example we have gotten used to the idea that we are alone in our lives, sure we go to church, pray, read the bible, but there seems to be that nagging feeling that we just aren't up to snuff.  That really God is waiting for us to just get it, then we can finally know Him.  One of the areas I think we have gotten used to that is highly dangerous is the thought that if we don't keep up our end of the "bargain" with God we are on the "bad" list.  Why?  Romans states that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.  Is Gods faithfulness contingent upon His character or ours?  I am definitely not saying that we aren't to walk in obedience, etc.  What I am saying is that there is a connection to God that cannot be broken.  I wake up and spend my time praying, and seeking God, but really....I wake up and He is seeking me.  All the time He is seeking my heart, my affections, my hurts, hopes and dreams.  To put our desires our hopes in the dumpster is to throw away part of how God has made us.  Read this sentence slowly, "God loves you right now, right where you are at, He isn't waiting for you to be better, He loves you, He has plans for you, He is conforming you into the likeness of His Son, He delights in you.  Scripture says He will rejoice over you with singing and quiet you with His love. 

Could God the creator of all things?  Be the one seeking us out?  Could He be wanting a deep relationship with us?  Could that be His main focus?  Too good to be true?  What have we gotten used to?  Who wants to meet up with who.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In times of.....

Today has been a rainy rainy day, good thing I've been inside but when I think about it, I'm not so sure.  Today was a sweater day at work for me, "very smart Russ, wear a sweater on a day you are inside in the heat".  Its interesting how our environment can determine our view of success in situations.  Had I been out in the cold "Brilliant Russ!  Just Brilliant!"  One thing is true, our environment, our world, our situations dont change the Truth of God.  There is a Truth that goes beyond, feelings, fears, hopes and dreams.  That Truth is also The only way to God and true LIFE.  Jesus. 

When we are following Christ, success isn't defined by the results, but by our obedience to His moment by moment whisper.  His yolk is easy and His burden is light....in all times.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Come on in

Its seems to be easy when we have guests coming over to answer the door.  We know they are coming and have made the preparation, made our house look good, thrown all the "stuff" in the closet or bathroom or where ever we think they wont go.  In a devotional I received this morning it talked about Jesus standing at the door of our hearts and knocking.  We can answer the door, feeling good about him coming in, but maybe to just a certain point.

He goes gently over to the door that has the "stuff" behind it.  We quickly bring up how nice our living room looks, he responds "yes I know, I healed you there remember?"  His very turf or area that he has brought his healing hand to we sometimes will take credit for or forget that He was the one to heal us.  Are we willing to open that closet door?  Can we trust Jesus to handle our deepest hurts and fears?  I know that I am very quick to want to divert him to different rooms, but really unless I allow him into those areas, I'm not allowing Him to be ALL that He wants to be to me.  It can be scary, stir up pain, but there is a reason and a purpose behind his question, and His question is "Will you let me heal you?"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Superstition vs. Christianity

We hear the song superstition by Stevie Wonder and we sing along to the beat but as christians we laugh at the idea of superstition.  I wonder if it hasn't crept into our thinking as believers.  For example, if you have ever had the following phrase go through your head, "if I do this, then that will happen".  What I am talking about is different than cause and effect, for example, if I hit my head against a wall it will hurt.  That isn't superstition.  But when we begin to project into the future if I "feel" this way or "dont feel" this way, that can be our road to what we believe is true.

We can act like we are in control of the outcome of our lives but are we really?  I believe we do have a free will, but within that, who ultimately holds the script to my life?  I can look at a decision and say "I hope I dont choose the wrong path, because if I do, my life will be over so to speak."  My friends, this is not biblical, the only decision that Jesus says to make sure you make the right one is to make Him Lord of your life.  Whether or not you choose to eat pizza or cheerios may not have the same weight. 

My point is this, sometimes we get paralyzed by fear because of not wanting to make the wrong choice, I would ask you this, do you think there could be sometimes in life that either decision you have to make is fine and the Lord is waiting on either side?  Really could God be that big?  Could he be so on top of things that you dont have to be in control or worry?  If he is a redeeming God, which He is, He has the market cornered on it, redemption occurs daily, moment by moment, not giving us the freedom to do whatever we want, but to be freed up to make a mistake or succeed in our lives.  He is faithful to complete the work he has begun in each of us.  Notice how I ended that sentence with a period, HE is faithful, its not our faithfulness.  Let your mind and heart rest today, ask Him to see where superstition may have crept into your heart and beliefs, as Max Lucado writes:  

"Hope is not what you expect; it’s what you would never dream....Hope is not a granted wish or a favor performed; no, it’s far greater than that.  It’s a zany, unpredictable dependence on a God who loves to surprise us out of our socks and be there in the flesh to see our reaction."

Gods not waiting for us to get our act together to give us hope, we dont trust our ability to make ourselves ready for God to move, we trust His spirit in us.