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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Wind-up, Walk Into Walls

V6AM65Recently, I had the privilege of attending the Breakaway retreat with our youth group. All together, there were about 250 people at the camp and we had a fantastic time of enjoying the activities, praising God, singing, and worshiping together. We also had multiple opportunities for our particular youth group to gather as a small group and discuss the things that we were learning. I mention this because the timing of the retreat was a real blessing to me, as I had just received some disheartening news about a job that I had interviewed for, and in one of our discussions, we talked about how God guides us and protects us. Sometimes it seems as though His plans get in the way of what we want to do. As I was talking with the teens, an image came to my mind that I shared with them and they suggested that I share it with others.

Have you ever seen one of those old walking wind-up toys? You wind it up, put it down, and aim it in the direction that you want it to go. It seems simple, except that those things never go where you point them. They stumble and fall down, or start going in the wrong direction, fall off the table, or just run into the wall repeatedly until they run out of energy. They then need to be wound up again and pointed in the proper direction only to run right back into that wall. Sometimes I feel like a wind-up toy. I get all wound up, I’m focused, and I am marching in the right direction. It isn’t long though before I crash into the wall and run out of energy. The thing that I need to remember is that I can no more function effectively apart from God’s power and guidance than that wind-up toy can get from point A to point B without someone winding it up and directing it. I also need to remember that sometimes, God puts a wall in my way to prevent me from falling off the table.

Romans 8
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

If we continue to read through Romans 8, we see that God’s plan for us included much more than winding us up, directing us, and protecting us from the occasional calamity. God’s plan, which demonstrates the depths of His love for us, included the sacrifice of His Son so that we might be justified. Christ was tortured, crucified, killed, and overcame death in order that we, His enemy, might experience a personal and eternal relationship with our Creator.

29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Praise God for his direction, correction, mercy, and love!

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Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Christianity, Faith, Humor

 

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Life’s Report Card

report-card-failMy kids received their report cards this past week and getting report cards can be either a pleasant experience or an unpleasant one, depending on your standing at school and the expectations of your parents. As I was looking at my kids report cards, I had the thought that it might be nice if God sent me a report card of my own… something black and white that left no doubt as to my progress and standing. I had that thought for about 15 seconds, and then I wised up. I am certain that if that report card was delivered, it would be pretty ugly. While we don’t get report cards, we have been given a training manual and a standard  to live up to. The Bible serves both purposes and reminds us that we must also pray and confess our failings to God as well as be accountable to and pray for one another.

James 5
15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

One of the problems with trying to earn passing grade in the classroom of life is that the class itself is pass/fail. If your every thought, every word, and every deed are perfect, you pass. If not, you fail. I must say, even graded on an extremely generous curve, my own report card would be stamped with a giant, red F.

However, God in his mercy doesn’t look at the grades on our report cards. If we recognize and confess our inability to earn a passing grade and, instead, put our faith in Jesus Christ, God uses Christ’s perfect report card in place of our own. We are saved solely through the work and sacrifice of the Son of God and not by anything we have done.

Titus 3
3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2013 in Christianity, Faith, Works

 

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