Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Thank You Note

The trees and lights are beginning to make their way back into storage. The wrapping paper in the trash, long return lines slowly reaching normality and thank you cards reaching the mailboxes. There remains however, one gift left un-thanked. This gift is the same given to the Virgin Mary by an angel. The same gift each believer in Jesus Christ is given for eternity, yet we often leave out the sincere gratitude necessary. I am talking about grace. We have done nothing to deserve it, can do nothing to earn it, and will never fully understand the implications of it. But this huge gift, given in a small way, via the birth of a baby, to be the savior of the world is the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ by nothing but the grace of an almighty God.

This Christmas and the coming New Year, one thought continually crept into my conscience. Is there anything I could do to thank Him? I work so hard at showing such appreciation to my relatives, wife and friends for the gifts for Christmas and my coming birthday. In fact my wife goes so far as sending personal thank you notes to each person, regardless of the size of the gift. A worthy gesture, no doubt. What about God though? By the gift of His grace, I have received eternal unity with Him. I have never bothered to thank Him.

I had to discover if God was probing me with a life changing question or was it the coffee making me delirious. In the account of the Gabriel’s announcement of the birth of Jesus, most draw their attention the miraculous event that is the virgin birth as well the capability of God’s power to impregnate a young girl as well as provide a child for a barren women well in her years. Each assessment worthy in its own right, a more subtle aspect hit me square in the forehead.

Throughout Scripture we often read of those called by God to perform acts He pre-ordained for them. As expected, responses from the likes of Moses, Gideon and others are much like many of us when God makes the call. Fear, unworthiness, lack of confidence and doubt usually tops the lists of reasons God should choose someone else. Our lives are just fine the way they are, please do not mess with the routine. Contrary to all of this is Mary’s response to the angel. Total obedience. Despite the fact that being an unmarried pregnant teenager would possibly ruin her life, she succumbs herself to the will of the Lord as a bondservant would to his master. Total obedience. The Lord gives her a male child, to be the Son of God, the beginning of the “already” part of the Kingdom, the very essence of our salvation; Jesus Christ. And Mary’s response is total obedience.

What if our response to the gift that God has given us all was just that, total obedience? This year, as my thank offering to my Lord and Savior, I will answer when I am called, where I am called. I will perform whatever task I am asked to. I will be the Lord’s bondservant. The obvious way to answer the gift of grace is a sad attempt at humility. To act as though we don’t deserve it, and speak eloquent jargon of faith aside from works. Works is the fruit of true faith. Works of obedience.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Get Up!

“But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” - 2 Corinthians 12:9

Most would agree that we really can't say for sure what it was bothering Paul. His “thorn in the flesh” remains a mystery. More importantly is the response God gives Paul in verse 9. Most understand the dispensation of grace and the power of cross. But can I suggest the grace, while easy to get (in relative terms), it is its sufficiency that looms over us in a cloud of misunderstanding? Knowing who you are, accepting your weakness allows the power of the cross to penetrate your soul and change your dependency. No longer is it about you. Life becomes a pursuit to glorify your Father in Heaven. Life can become joyful, regardless of circumstances. Not just joyful, but the giddy, insides are going to burst because you can’t think of anything else to do. The kind of joy you scream out without a care of what others think.

Through a rough bout of depression, a hard first three years of marriage God has rescued both myself and my wife and placed us so we may serve with our lives.
No matter what happens or how grim things tend to look at times, the simple fact remains that I am a sinner God chose to rescue and use. The fight never ends, but the victory is won. I won’t lie; plenty of days I stand in the ring yelling at God to throw in the towel. I often wonder how many more shots can I take. It is not hard to find yourself at the end of your rope questioning the sanity of God. Maybe He is nuts. I doubt it. Then somehow, I get up and keep going. Because when I get it up the power of Christ is show in me. I am standing, but under my own power.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Simply Complex

I am quite aware of vast complexities of women, yet I can not speak with any authority, I just know from experience. However, I hesitate, but need to confess that we men seem to have our own complexities. However I think those complexities are a jumbled up jigsaw puzzle made by human hands; our culture, and socio-economic standing, etc. The image in which we are created (that is God) is complex, infinite, and beautiful, but His creation is simple, loving yet bold. On the outset, Jesus, I would think is simple in emotion, compassion and servitude and maybe even His teachings, once you peel off the layers of cultural context. So has sin complicated us such that we confuse oursleves and our "real" self? I taught some high school kids this week about things that which are true, by definition; the opposite must be false. Two of the same things cannot be true. So if the truth is in Chirst and we are be like Him; and in sin we sit confused and complicated; then what we are in sin is false. Let us make our first task to simplify how we study and read Scripture as well as how we view Jesus. This done in hopes to clear our minds of unecessary clutter and recall the story God has written for each of us.

Ephesians 4:22-24, 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness