Month: March 2016

#Sinning on #Easter

Do you feel worse when you sin on Good Friday, Easter, Christmas or even on a normal Sunday?

Do you restrain on “sinful” behavior or feel more guilty on certain days?

How about some examples: Do you go to “R” rated movies on Saturday and avoid them on Sunday?  Would you go to that same movie on Good Friday or Easter?  How about right after church?

That book that you are reading – would you take it on a church retreat?  Sell it at the Church’s yard sale or mission fundraiser?

Would you party on a normal Friday but not on Good Friday?  How would you feel about getting drunk at Easter dinner?

Does any of that matter?  Is sin a sin whether it is on a Sunday or Saturday or on Good Friday instead of Black Friday?  Why do we feel more guilty sinning in church than at home?  Why do people apologize for swearing in front of a pastor or priest?

Is God keeping score and making penalties higher on certain days?   On the other hand, if you feel guilty about watching a “dirty” movie on Sunday maybe you shouldn’t be watching it on Saturday either.

1 John 1:8-9 (NIV)

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

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An Empty Cross

At our darkest times we kneel and cry out to God.  Can you imagine the pain, fear and dismay that Mary and the disciples experienced as they watched Jesus beaten and hung on the cross?  I can’t even watch the movie “Passion” because it’s too painful for me to ‘watch’ His suffering.

Imagine returning to the empty cross on Saturday and Sunday morning – promises broken, hope crushed, love lost.  The only things left were blood, memories and hopelessness.  Do you think the Romans bothered to guard the empty cross as they guarded the tomb?  Why bother?  Jesus wasn’t there anymore.   It was over.  The cross is empty.  I imagine that hill being a very lonely place the day after . . .I don’t imagine anyone hanging around.

Do we walk away?  Do we give up?

Over?  How do you define ‘over’? Jesus did suffer and die.  Many thought it was finished.   Is our hope ‘over’ with the cross or just beginning?

Bow down at the cross but remember. . .the end is just the beginning!

John 19:30

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

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Wings

I would love to be able to fly.  I’ve dreamed about being able to stretch my arms out and taking off.  It would be really cool to move that way.

Have you ever watched birds?  For all the amazing ability that they have to fly they have some real limitations.  No hands.  No voice.  They have two feet, a beak and two wings to do all their work.  Besides flying, they are limited to hopping around and pecking at things.  Yes, they can do amazing things with those limited assets but would you trade your arms and hands?

Would you be willing to give up your arms and hands to fly?  I guess I could type with my beak but it would be hard to handle keys to get in my office.  I wouldn’t be able to answer the phone (ok, that may be a blessing!).

There is a fine line between never giving up on a dream to become something that you want to be and dreaming of being something that you will never be.  You may dream of being physically fit but will you ever be an Olympic athlete?  You may want to be a business owner but will you ever be Warren Buffet?

I may strive to be like Jesus but c’mon, I will never make it – not even close, not by a mile.  Goals.  Aspirations.  Dreams.  Vision.  What is real?  What is make believe?  What is on track and what is stuck in the mud?

Pray.  Believe.  Have faith and hope.  Be real.  Don’t long to be something that you are not and live in guilt and failure for not being able to fly.  Comparing yourself to the 1% who have achieved great success could be the same as comparing yourself to a bird.

Isaiah 40:30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

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Dog Haters

I can classify people into two groups – one group can’t pass by a dog without petting it and talking to it; the other group can pass by a dog and not even acknowledge it being there.  Dog lovers and dog haters.  I’m sure that some fit in the middle but if you watch people walking in a neighborhood or park, I bet you will find them closer to the simple two groups.

Where do dog haters come from?  Some had bad experiences as children – maybe they got bit; maybe they were raised to not appreciate dogs; they never had one; they’re allergic;  they’re clean freaks; maybe they are just too busy to appreciate furry friends.

Some are a mystery.  My parents were both dog lovers and we always had a dog.  My oldest sister and me are extreme dog lovers.  My middle sister is a dog hater.  How did this happen?  She didn’t have a bad experience with a dog?  She should have had a biological temperament to loving dogs.  How did she turn out so different?

Most people learn to love dogs as children but some don’t until they are adults.  Some people aren’t exposed to dogs until they are adults so they don’t know the benefits.  Some grow up loving dogs as children but tire of them and only see their faults.  Some can’t be bothered by them as adults.  “They are too much work” they say.  Bad experiences can happen at any age and make a person afraid of all dogs.

Dog lovers – there are some who can’t have enough and some who tolerate.  Some will pet a neighbor’s dog but will never have the “challenge” in their own home.  Some will go overboard and have several dogs in the same house.

Are you a dog lover or dog hater?

Funny thing about the word “dog”.  If you turn it around, you get “God”.  What’s even funnier is that many of the same reactions to dogs applies to how people fit with God.  It seems that a person either “loves God” or they don’t.  Some will grow up in homes that love God but somehow they fall out of step and go another direction.  For some, there is an obvious reason – a hurt or a bad experience that turns them.  Others aren’t exposed to God as children.  Some may not find God until their adult years.  Some will grow up loving God but then get tired of the work involved or the mess that goes with being a follower.

Where do you fit in – are you a God lover or God hater?  There really isn’t room in the middle.

Revelation 3:15 (NIV)

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

beagle

3:16

This month is March 2016 – or;  3/16.  It is 3/16 all month and it won’t happen again for another 100 years.

It’s a good month to reflect on God’s love – as in:

John 3:16 (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

or:

1 John 3:16 (NIV)

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

Or you can choose to look at your hardships:

Job 3:16 (NIV)

16 Or why was I not hidden away in the ground like a stillborn child,
    like an infant who never saw the light of day?

and:

Lamentations 3:16 (NIV)

16 He has broken my teeth with gravel;
    he has trampled me in the dust.

Or:

Romans 3:16 (NIV)

16     ruin and misery mark their ways,

Or you can sit and wait before the Lord and His guidance:

Ezekiel 3:16 (NIV)

16 At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me:

You can focus on who you are as a believer:

1 Corinthians 3:16 (NIV)

16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

Or rest in His peace:

2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NIV)

16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

But no matter what, do not be lukewarm about your faith on 3/16 or any other month because there is fair warning:

Revelation 3:16 (NIV)

16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

 

For a complete list of the 3:16’s take a look at this blog:

All the 3:16s in the Bible

hannahpraise

Pain in the ass (literally)

I grew up watching commercials of people fidgeting in pain and itching.  The ads were for some product called “Preparation H”.  As a kid, I had no idea what they were talking about.  The commercials really didn’t say anything to let a kid know  – and why should they?  Kids aren’t their target audience.

Ten years ago, I found out what they were talking about.  Only I didn’t start at the “Preparation H” level – I went right to a severe case requiring immediate surgery.  There is nothing polite about this surgery and it is embarrassing to talk about.  If you break an arm, it’s “Hey! I broke my arm.  I need prayer and meals!”  Hemorrhoid surgery – no one is calling the church to say “I have a major pain in the ass and I need prayer and meals!”  I kept it quiet and didn’t tell anyone I needed prayer.  Pride comes before the fall.

Surgery was on a Thursday.  I felt great Friday morning thinking I was healed of the pain.  At 12:05 my pain meds wore off and I began months (years) of misery and pain.  This area of the universe does not get fresh air and sun and is probably the worst place on our bodies to heal from surgery.  The healing is never 100% better.

Why am I sharing this?  I was too embarrassed at the time to ask for prayer.  I did not feel the prayer support of my fellow believers and I did not feel any angels holding me up.  I tried to go this alone.  Never again.  Whatever situation you are facing – no matter how embarrassed or ashamed you are, don’t walk through it alone.  The enemy doesn’t want you praying.  He will throw any excuse at you to make you think that “no one” else is going through this or that people will laugh.  Don’t believe it.  Reach out for prayer.  Don’t let pride or fears get in the way of believers lifting you up.

2 Chronicles 6:28-30

28 “When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or when enemies besiege them in any of their cities, whatever disaster or disease may come, 29 and when a prayer or plea is made by anyone among your people Israel—being aware of their afflictions and pains, and spreading out their hands toward this temple— 30 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive, and deal with everyone according to all they do, since you know their hearts (for you alone know the human heart),

hannahpraise

Rage

You’re angry at God.  Why?  Are you disappointed?  Do you feel cheated?  Life unfair?  Do you believe that God has let you down . . . or that He actually hurt you?

Maybe He has come to you with an answer to your problem and you didn’t like it.  Did you turn and walk away in disgust?  Are you like Jonah sitting under a dying plant?  Or are you like Job refusing to curse God?

What do you DESERVE?  God doesn’t owe you anything and yet He has offered you everything.  The scriptures say not to sin in anger.  When we get angry we tend to act irrationally.

Stop and calm down.  God has an answer for you.

2 Kings 5:So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, washyourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

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