Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I Want to be in Awe

Last night I saw one of the most beautiful displays of God's glory.  The clouds were indescribably beautiful.  Pink, blue, indigo, orange, white, gold and purple were some of the colors painted across the sky.  Social media in my town was loaded with photos of the evening sky.  I was in awe of God's beautiful handiwork.  In fact, I turned upward and said, "Now you're just showin' off."

My fiance (soon to be wife) Christine and I stood outside marveling.  We drove around just amazed at the unspeakable beauty over our heads.  We were in awe.

As we drove back to my house Christine turned to me and said, "I want to be in awe of God again."

There we were at that moment in awe of God and her desire was to be in awe of God.  She spoke of how when she was a brand new believer how she came back from even the simplest Bible study in awe of her God.  While gazing at God's glory she wanted to be in awe of Him.

I'm not sharing this story to say, "Duh, Christine!  You are in awe of God right now.  What's wrong with you?"

No, I'm sharing this story because she had the perfect response to being in awe of God.  She was in awe and wanted more.  She was in awe of His painting called the sky and wanted to be in awe of another part of Him and His ways.

Her desire has convicted me.  While I spent a little time recommending ways that she could be in awe of God more, I found myself listening to my own words.  I want to be in awe.

In my "Christian maturity" I have become calloused to the wonder and mystery of God.  I have many explanations for why and how God does things, but does that make me a mature Christian?  I think the answer is "no".

Maybe the mature Christian is the one blown away by the "simplest" of truths.

Think about it.  "Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so."  This is a children's song.  This is something we move by rather quickly.  "Yeah, Jesus loves me."  But that should not be a nonchalant statement.  That statement should blow us away.

Truths like: We are now called children of God, the God of Peace will soon crush Satan under your feet, God made the heavens and the earth, God has existed forever and will exist forever; these are not truths to pass by quickly.  These should bring us to our knees.  These should cause our brains to hurt.  These truths should make us awe.

Today, I'm going to try to have fewer answers to the questions of God.  Today, I'm going to try to be lost in wonder of God.  Today, I'm going to think about who God is in comparison to me.  Today, I want to be in awe.  Join me.  Be in awe of our God today.

Monday, July 15, 2013

D.I.Y. Christianity

We American Christians have bought a lie.

We American's pride ourselves on self-sufficiency.   D.I.Y. (do it yourself) is part of the lexicon.  We love to do things all by ourselves.  We pay to go to a restaurant where we can grill our own steaks.  We search the aisles of Menard's and the Home Depot so we have the right equipment to do it ourselves.

Those who are D.I.Y.ers feel superior to those of us that call the plumber for help and in some ways they may be.  D.I.Y. is a source of pride and I'm not saying that this is completely wrong.

But D.I.Y. Christianity is not what Christ has planned for us.  When I say "D.I.Y. Christianity" I don't mean someone who is trying to earn heaven on their own without Jesus.  When I say "D.I.Y. Christianity" I mean someone who thinks that needing others is a sign of weakness and that strong Christians can will themselves to righteousness.

First, we are never called to be self-sufficient Christians.  We are called to be semi-self-fed, mature Christians, but not self-sufficient.  We are called to pursue God and stay faithful to Him together.  As my pastor says, "staying faithful to Jesus is a community project."  A brave Christian is not one that suppresses his/her needs and does it himself/herself.  No, a brave Christian is one that bares his/her weakest points to another in the Church and says, "Help me."

Secondly, we are not called to will ourselves into righteousness.  Far from that, we are called to submit ourselves to righteousness.  We are not purified by our sweat.  No, we are purified by allowing Christ Jesus to work in us.  We are purified by letting God do His work.  Does this require some effort?  Yes. But it isn't our doing, it is all God's doing.

So, submit yourself to God's working.  Stop trying to do it yourself.  Also, bare yourself to a brother or sister in Christ.  Let them see your weakness and help you grow up into Christ.  We are not called to be D.I.Y. Christians.  We are called to be brothers and sisters submitting mutually to one another out of love under the headship of Christ.

Let go of your attempts at self-sufficient righteousness today.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Psalm 112

I've been reading a Psalm a day during the summer for the past two years.  I'd highly recommend this reading plan.  Below is my Psalm for today.

"Praise the Lord.

Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
who finds great delight in His commands.

His children will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in his house,
and his righteousness endures forever.
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.
Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely,
who conducts his affairs with justice.
Surely he will never be shaken;
a righteous man will be remembered forever.
He will have no fear of bad news;
his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
His heart is secure, he will have no fear;
in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.
He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor,
his righteousness endures forever;
his horn will be lifted high in honor.

The wicked man will see and be vexed,
he will gnash his teeth and waste away;
the longing of the wicked will come to nothing."
Psalm 112

Sure makes you want to fear the Lord and find delight in His commands.  Fear God.  Find delight in His commands today.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Declaration of Dependence

I posted this the last couple of years and I think it's perfect again for this year.

Declaration of Dependence

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary of one man to dissolve the bands which have connected him to his self, and to reject the Powers of the earth, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires he should declare the causes which impel him to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that all men fall short of the glory of God, and that the wages of sin is death.  When any Form of Living instituted by Men becomes destructive to man he should abolish it and institute a new Life. laying its foundation on such powers that will provide life.

I, therefore, do declare that I am abolished from the Allegiance to the self and the Powers of the earth.  Not that I would be free and independent from all control, but rather that I would place my life in the hands of one who would fulfill my needs and provide me with life.

I declare dependence to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

The foregoing Declaration was engrossed and signed by the following members:

Matt Ray