Month: December 2011

Love and Forgiveness

Some of my greatest blessings and annoyances in life deal with the same thing – people.   Just when someone in my life upsets me so much that I want to scream, someone else comes along and blesses and encourages me more than I could have ever imagined.  As much as I hate to admit it, we all need to have others in our lives to thrive and do well.   We all desperately need others in our lives for us to be mentally and physically healthy.  Strange, isn’t it, but those who bring us our greatest joy can also cause our deepest pain.

Many times the closest people around us are the greatest source of pain, hurt and resentment in our lives at one moment while in the next they are our richest blessing, joy and encouragement.  

Life can be a messy thing because of people. 

That’s why, when Jesus came with the message of the kingdom, He admonished us to focus on two things:

1.   Love one another.

and

2.   Forgive one another.

The truth is that both of these admonishments are vital parts of a healthy life.   We must decide to intentionally love and forgive those around us.   People are messy. We all have our hurts, wounds, baggage and struggles in tow as we encounter each other.  We all have our guards up from previous hurts.  We all have our ears tuned to listen for offense.   The cure is love and forgiveness.

As I write this I think of those who are in need of forgiveness.   I think of those that need to feel the love of other believers.

Love and forgiveness. 

Both are only done as we allow God to work through us.  The greatest miracles of your life will come as you love and forgive.  The greatest changes in lives around you will come because you love and forgive. They are the very heart of God, the very things we love about Jesus, the very things the world most needs, the two things those we encounter most need from us.

Let’s make this year a year of love and forgiveness to those we encounter in this journey we call life.

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Simple Instructions for a Simple Man

I have come to the realization that I’m not what I have thought I was.   I no longer think about grand thoughts of glory or have amazing insights into life and eternity.   I am just a very simple guy who is trying to follow God and walk with Him for my remaining days.   I honestly find that most people are just like me, just people trying to find their way.

This morning, as I read Micah 6, I once more come to these simple instructions,

“He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

In my simple language,  I would instruct someone else with these directions, do what’s right, be nice and respond rightly to God.   It’s not all that hard.   Life comes down to some very simple instructions.    That helps a guy like me.

Jesus repeated these instructions and framed it in an even clearer way.  He said, “Love God and love each other.”   That’s Micah 6 in its simplest form.   Basically scripture tells us to focus on eternal things – God and people.   Those are the things, the relationships that will be eternal.   Everything else will waste away like rust, rot or be thrown away.

So today, I hope to focus on the eternal things – God and people.   I hope to respond to them as Micah describes, do what’s right, be nice and walk humbly with God.   I’m so glad this is simple.   It helps to know how easy this really is. 

The secret is this – it’s not about me, it’s about God first and others second.   It’s a life focused outward, focused not on the frantic scramble for security and for stuff, but on others and God.

Simple instructions…..for a simple man, do what’s right, be nice and walk humbly with God.

The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow

It’s a new morning.  The sun has risen.   No one ever is surprised by this.   Just like every other morning since the  creation of time the sun has risen.   We are used to it.   It’s pretty much expected by us, isn’t it?  

For many people it is just a matter of astronomy and science.  The earth just orbits around the sun while it spins on its axis.  Thus creating our days and nights.  To them it is as simple as that.  

For me, it is something a little more divine.  I understand the principles of science and the rotation around the sun.   But I also believe that the complexity and wonder of science is created by the very hand of God.  I am a creationist.  I believe that all things were created by Him.  Do I understand how He did everything?   No, but I do believe that God created all things and He did it with the complexity that has baffled scientists since the beginning of recorded history. 

I have been told that it is too easy to simply believe that God created everything.   They say that too many things need an explanation and reason for existence.   However, for me, that is why it is called faith.  Am I to believe that all of this happened by mere happenstance?  Just random matter bouncing off each other and it formed itself into the world we have today?  That takes way more trust than the faith I have that God created all things.   I believe and I don’t need an explanation on every detail on how it all works together.

Why? Because a faithful God is showing us how to trust Him.  Every morning the sun rises in the Eastern sky and His faithful nature is giving us the light of day.   It’s a constant reminder that we need to place our trust in God.  He is the same as He has always been, faithful to care for us, able to do so and do it lovingly.    

So, this morning, as I see the first glimmer of light over the horizon I’m thankful for God’s care, His love, His provision and His power to accomplish good things for us.

Thank You Lord for the sun today and as you promised… the sun will come up tomorrow.

Are You Thirsty?

As some of you know, I had some medical issues in 2009 that really took its toll in my life.  I still live with the side effects of the surgeries that I had and even though I don’t talk about them much they are still there as reminders of a time when I first realized I was not invincible.   I have lost complete hearing in my left ear and I still have numbness all through my right arm and I have no feeling in the tip of my fingers on my right hand.  Another side effect has been that everything tastes different than it did before my surgeries.  However the worst side effect that I have had to deal with is that I have constant cotton mouth.   My mouth is constantly dry and I have to always have something to drink in hand or have a piece of candy or gum to make sure my mouth doesn’t completely dry out.  In light of the seriousness of my surgeries, I will take these side effects over the alternative that was given to me.  

Have you ever been thirsty?  I mean really thirsty…your mouth dry, lips parched, your tongue clinging to the roof of your mouth.     Have you have ever been so thirsty  that you long for just a sip of water?   Thirsty….it’s how we describe a need for something that is vital to life.   We cannot live without water.   If we went without it for even a few days our health would diminish quickly.   We must have water to live. 

In the Bible, David wrote of another kind of thirst.   He wrote in this Psalm of a thirst for God.  

“As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.  I thirst for God, the living God.”      Psalm 42: 1-2

David has the craving for a close  relationship with his God, to have a presence that could only be equated to a thirsty deer in the wilderness looking for water.   We all have this thirst, this need for God.  The sad truth is that most people don’t realize it as need for God in their life.  Many try to quench their thirst for satisfaction with other things.  It may be material things or maybe they try to find it through the bottle or drugs.  

Like water to the body, God is the only thing that will really meet our thirst’s need.   Around me I watch a world looking for relief from their thirst in other ways, but the only one, the only water for the soul is God Himself.   Those who look for relief from other sources will never quench their thirst, they simply satisfy their thirst for a moment with things that don’t last.  

I feel that thirst in my life.   I want to know God and have Him be the focal point in my life.  I want to satisfy my thirsty soul with His presence.   It’s His face I need to seek, it’s His presence in my life that will quench my thirsty soul.

Like David, I thirst for God.  My hope is that is your prayer as well. 

The question is… are you thirsty?