Archive for March, 2017

In the last 3 years, I have had two angiograms and one resulted in placing three stints in an artery. I felt nothing as I was anesthetized with an injection and a U2 song I had requested to be played. It was great-no pain and successful surgery. The cost however, was a changed diet and consistent exercise.

Isaiah 58 sounds like many today who sometimes seem eager for more of God but with a different set of conditions. Maybe they wanted surgery without pain-they wanted anesthesia. Jesus’ formula is different-“no pain, no gain!” And he’s not talking about sporting events.

Check out Proverbs 14:12 in The Message “There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough; look again-it leads straight to hell. Sure, those people appear to be having a good time, but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.”

WHAT THIS MEANS: Real growth as a disciple comes with the surgical removal of aspects of our life that are contrary to the abundant life Jesus promised. This surgery is not without pain. Be careful of doctors/hospitals that provide painless remedies to life’s hard challenges.

Whether it’s camping or traveling, you can’t take everything you love from your closet or garage with you. It’s guaranteed to slow you down and cause issues.

Some of our old, yet comfortable ways of thinking about life have to be left to take the ultimate trip God has for us. 2 Corinthians 5:17 in The Word on the Street says: “Anyone with this God-link to the Liberator is a brand-new human being; not genetically modified-brand new! The old categories don’t work; it’s a whole new ball game.”

WHAT THIS MEANS: What’s your big fear of leaving something behind and going with what really matters to God? Maybe that’s where to start-“What matters to God?” Get some other opinions and not just from Believers.

We wake up at 4:30 AM and we don’t want our thoughts televised this morning. Around 10, the rest of the day is wrecked with what happened at work. We wonder what the spank is really going on anyway.

1 Peter 5:8 reminds us we have an enemy who doesn’t come up to us purring. This is a bigger cat. The Message puts it like this: “Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up.”

WHAT THIS MEANS: We often don’t remember that our enemy has one plan-to wreck our life. If we forget this we will never walk the tightrope of life. We’ll wonder how we fall off so often. Why not memorize 1 Peter 5:8 if you haven’t? And, share it with a friend.

What is it that causes you to hang on every word as you listen to someone describe a trip they took, an encounter they had, or something they’ve been thinking about? It raised questions or challenged old explanations you had held, but there was just something that caused you to think in a way you never had before.

Conversations Jesus had were not alarming for him, but for those hearing him, they were moved to anger or an alarming expectation that this is what they had been looking for, a long time. Check out Matthew 7:28-29 in the Message translation and John 7:45-46.

WHAT THIS MEANS: Our life and what we talk about should cause people to pause and consider what they are hearing and seeing in us. People around us are trying to figure out life. Give them something they’ve never thought about.

If you needed a tree cut down and the wood corded, it would make sense to look at the hands of those volunteering to help you. Smooth hands could help with some jobs, but you would want someone with rough hands that showed much difficult labor on them.

Faith can almost look sanitized rather than the kind that is seen in Hebrews 11:32-39. Is this rough kind of faith needed today? Maybe faith is more genuine when exposed to extreme challenging situations rather than some of the things that mark our prayers.

WHAT THIS MEANS: Examine your faith and then sit down with a couple of people in your church or small group and discuss what it would take to have a faith that not only challenges the status quo, but also stirs something in people to believe God for crazy hard stuff.