Monday, October 25, 2010

Dirty Tricks

There are some dirty tricks out there.  The commercials tell us that there are only "easy" payments.  Ever heard about the "gut-wrenching" payments?  Ever made one?  Or a hundred of them?  The idea that it's better to have it now and pay for it later is, I believe, a dirty trick.

Then there are the ridiculous email phishing schemes:  "I'm a poor widow in [some foreign country], and I'll give you $10,000 if you'll just give me your bank account number."  It's a dirty trick.

Then there is the ubiquitous lie that stuff will make you happy.  It's a dirty trick.

We do have an enemy who is seeking to deceive us all the time.  He will put thoughts into our heads.  "That person doesn't like you."  "All you need is a little bit more."  "You are not ever going to succeed."  "God is holding out on you." 

And then there's my favorite:  "It's too late.  You can't make up for lost time.  You may as well give up."  I say it's my favorite, not because I like it, but because I constantly fall for it.  But I'm getting better at recognizing the enemy's tactics.  I can see how he's trying to deceive me.

What about you?  Do you see his dirty tricks?

He is seeking to wreck your life.  Or at least neutralize you.  He wants to wreck your relationships.  He wants to destroy your courage.  He wants nothing good for you. 

We need to be aware that our enemy is always on the prowl.  Don't fall for his dirty tricks.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Prayers I never prayed

I know that every kid has frustrating habits.  Mine do.  Today I just jumped on my daughter for such a transgression.  (Yes, I have such habits as well, but that's another subject.)

Then it occurred to me:  I should pray about that.  I should ask God to work in her life.  Why has that not occurred to me before?  I must be stupid.  No, faithless is more like it.

Now I'm wondering what else I have never prayed for.  Jesus said that we should ask.  I'm just not asking enough.  He wants to make a difference in my life, and in the lives of those I love.

I can pray for the car to work right, for my grass to grow (it needs help), for my habits to become more like Christ's, for all those annoying habits in others, for my finances, for my vacation, for ... well the list is truly endless. 

It is shocking to me how much of my life seems to be outside the realm of prayer.  How many prayers have I never prayed?

Lord, please show me what to pray for.  Forgive me for not believing that all of life belongs to you.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ask, Seek, Knock

Reading in Matthew 7 today I came across the familar passage in which Jesus says, "Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door shall be opened to you..." 

I wonder if these three commands indicate a progression.  First we ask God for something.  We just ask.  Then we seek it out.  We get going, looking, pursuing.  And when we find it, we knock, expecting it to open.  We begin passively and get more aggressive at each step. 

Of the three commands, only one can be fulfilled through our own effort.  We can seek and find on our own. The first and last commands require someone else to act.  We can ask, but someone must respond if we are to receive.  We can knock, but someone else must open the door.

The process begins with God's gracious answer and ends with God providing opportunity. 

I need to start asking.  I need to seek what he wants me to find.  I need to knock at the right doors.  God eagerly desires to pour out his blessings.  I need to ask, seek and knock.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thanks to God

I had a big surprise on Sunday.  We were celebrating our Tenth Anniversary as a church, appropriately at 10:00 on 10-10-10.  We saw slides of our journey together and all ten of our meeting places.

Ten people shared their stories about God working their lives through Crossroads.  Tears were shed, lives were touched.

Then I was surprised when the church presented me with a gift, a card and a check.  Whoa!  I did not see that coming.  The card was signed by nearly everyone in the church.  I really like the gift -- a Bible bound in beautiful fine leather.  My old NIV was falling apart at the binding.  It would have lasted another 3 months before falling apart.  The new one is well bound and should last for decades. 

More than the gift, I am touched by the thought, the love, the joy.

I am humbled to serve such a loving God who would allow me to serve such gracious people.  They are more than gracious.  They are fun, kind, and excited about Jesus.  "I thank my God every time I remember you..." 

To God I am eternally grateful.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Only Thing that Matters

What if nothing mattered but God?  That's the attitude of the Servant in Isaiah 49:4, a prophetic passage about the coming Messiah.  He says:

I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing.  Yet what is due me is in the LORD's hand, and my reward is with my God.

I want some rewards now.  If I work hard at any task, I want to see some payoff.  When I do yard work, I want to see green grass.  When I plan an event, I want it to run smoothly.  When I pour my heart out in a sermon, I want to see God working.

The Servant was willing to pour out his life and completely trust God to take care of his reward.  It didn't matter if he saw results here and now. 

That is a life lived with abandon to God.  It is a life of freedom, and even joy.  It's joy that comes from beyond this world.  That's the kind of life I want.