Archive for February, 2016

1 Corinthians 10:13 and Philippians 4:19 were verses I memorized early on in my Christian life. They assured me that God always was going to be there and lead me through the rough stuff in life. There never would be a time I would have more than I could handle.

It was like an invisible fence that God had put into my life that would keep the bad stuff out. I would be able to handle anything the enemy threw at me. There was one time where I felt like IED’s had been placed all around me, and it was only a matter of time when I would step on one and it would be the end of my story.

These verses comforted me and even rescued me a couple of times, but then I took a more challenging class. The class was “You Can’t Handle This.” I noticed there weren’t too many signed up for this one. It seemed contradictory to what I had earlier learned. However, it was actually complimentary. God enters us into life games where we really don’t stand a chance. We simply can’t train enough to win…on our on.

WHAT THIS MEANS: There will be situations in our life in which we are certain we can’t handle it and think it’s too much. We easily can doubt that God is being straight with us. Winning in life is believing that God means what he says even when we can’t handle it.

It happened a week ago. Having a conversation in Hyde Perk Coffee Shop, I couldn’t hear Teddy and it wasn’t that there was music playing and many in the shop talking. I could not hear out of one ear. My first thought was “ministry is over now because I can’t hear anymore. I thought to myself “everyone knows that you can’t have a serious conversation without coffee, so now what?” Fortunately, I had 73 years of wax that had built up in one ear that was easily dealt with. Ministry is back on!

But what if? This is a question we don’t like to ask or think about. It was not spoken casually or inconsistently as Jesus startled the crowd and the 12 men hanging with him by speaking the words in John 6:53-58. Verse 60 reveals not only what the 12 were thinking and discussing, but also what all of us come to in the quest of following Jesus.Verse 66 shows that most of those present that day, got it and grabbed  their stuff and took off.

The disciples knew that to agree with Jesus on this one meant life would never be the same if they really believed and acted on this. Jesus’ words often have a way of terrifying us as we wrestle with what might happen if we really believed him.

WHAT THIS MEANS: As you and I follow Jesus, we should expect that there will be times we are confronted with something he says that will alter how we live if we really believe it and act on it.

At some point in our search for what matters, we know something isn’t right. What we’re looking for is increasingly hard to find, if even possible. There must be something that is essential, and how do you even define meaningful? We’re thinking we would be willing to pay a higher cost but not too high.

One of our friends told us we could get what we’re looking for, but we’re scared to check it out cause there might be too many strings attached. We think it might be valuable, but not many of our friends have bought into it.

John 12:25 in The Word on the Street says “Anyone who clings on desperately to their precious life will lose it. But the guys who see through the shallowness of this life will get limitless life in the next.” That all sounds good, but the cost… So we hold on to doing life our way and continue to run in circles that just keep defining our desperate search as pointless.

So, we want other opinions before we are willing to shell out this kind of cash. We check with Luke cause John might be overstating it. Luke 9:23 in The Message doesn’t give any comfort or maybe we have really found what we are looking for. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat-I am.” Jesus.

WHAT THIS MEANS: This looks like a good investment, but we have to give him the wallet and all the coins (doing life our way). Could be an interesting and meaningful trip. What do you think?

In the “game” of life, we are certain to lose with God when we choose a game of talking a good line, but never backing it up with a lifestyle that validates God’s “game rules.”

Matthew 7:21-23 should not be a scary verse unless we are making our own rules. It should make us pause and think about how serious this “game” really is. Another challenging rule God has is Luke 9:23. We can easily violate this one by trying to talk God into looking at how much more we do what he says than someone else. Just for fun, check out John 14:15 and 23.

Why do we play these kinds of games with God? Why do we think that talking a good line is going to register as practicing what we talk about? Out math is wrong! Saying we believe something but not doing what we say we believe has serious consequences. Maybe we don’t really believe God means what he says. Or, maybe we think he will take into consideration that we are doing more than most.

We all know how we feel when a friend, another employee or a neighbor promises one thing but doesn’t follow through. Losing this game with God has far greater implications not only for our happiness here, but also later when we have a “face to face” conversation with him.

WHAT THIS MEANS: Before you and I promise something to God, we better make sure we intend to do it. Think about how your relationships have been hurt when someone tells you one thing but does another. How can you make progress with this?