In God We Trust, Really?

Seeing life through Jesus’ lens, not yours.
It today’s western Christian culture, there seem to be many who are questioning the validity of Scripture. The reason for this is that there are passages that seem to go against what some feel are not valid for today’s living.
Which scriptural injunctions are for today’s world? And more importantly, who gets to decide? Picking and choosing based on one’s point of view, rather than God’s, is always a slippery slope. If you need examples of this, simply read the book of Judges; and, look at Israel’s history that led to her being removed from the Land…twice.
If we believe the words in the Book are from God; then we have to dive deeper when passages “seem” wrong to “us” to get at what God is trying to explain to us.
Do we really believe Jesus knows what’s best for us? And isn’t the entire point of faith to trust what He says to do or not do, even when it doesn’t make sense or feel right to us, because it’s for our good and His glory when we do?
I’ll bet it seemed pretty crazy to Noah to hear God say build a boat, something he’d never done before, and, to Abraham to go to place where he would only the get the directions to until after he left his home and friends behind.
Everyone on this planet lives by faith. The question is, in whom?

Mirror Mirror

When Scripture seems contradictory, blow up your boxes!
I often find that the Spirit has to blow up my tiny boxes so He can expand my view of Jesus. This is especially true when it comes to how I view myself when I look into the mirror.
Hebrew 10:14 states that through one sacrifice, Jesus’, we’re both perfect right now and being made perfect at the same time. I realize this seems contradictory; only, however, if you see if from your point of view.
God knows, at times, we will fail this side of heaven. This doesn’t mean that He wants us to fail. He knows sinning only hurts us and those around us. It’s just that it doesn’t surprise Him.
God sees the entire picture from beginning to end. We’re already holy/perfect because of what Jesus has already done. Our Father sees this picture while we only see the process of becoming perfect, which entails failure.
Our viewpoint leads to making wrong conclusions about who Jesus is and what He has done and to saying some very degrading statements about ourselves, which only leads to more failure.
It is because of the one sacrifice – Jesus’ – that we have access to a forgiveness that covers those failures. Be ever thankful for that one sacrifice. And then, give thanks for how God sees you the next time you look in the mirror. It will blow up your boxes about who Jesus is!

Plantin’ and Praisin’

“Are you prepared for a better life?”
The story has been told of two farmers praying for rain. Yet, only one believed it would happen by preparing his fields and planting seeds before it rained.
Do you believe the truths Jesus gives you while reading the Word of God will set you free? If so, as you plant them into your head and pray for them to come true, start praising Him now for the reality of a changed life.
We are instructed to give thanks to the Lord for His love endures forever. Jesus loves you and wants to change your life for the better. If you believe this, then start thanking Him now for what He will do tomorrow through the truths He gives you today.

Silence is OK – Silence is Good

“Silence is not wasted time, but useful time spent.”
This is the mighty Colorado River. I sat in silence watching it go by me. Though the water was moving swiftly, it wasn’t making a sound that I could hear.
While taking in this calming view, I was reminded of something Mr. Rogers once said. “Silence is not wasted time, but useful time spent.”
He asked his audience, “How long is a minute?” While film was rolling, he took an egg timer and set it to a minute. He then proceeded to be quiet as the seconds ticked away. This was on TV where time is money and nothing was happening, or so one thought.
Children’s programming had become so fast paced that reflection was being squeezed out. It is the same for adults. We have endless amounts of programming and entertainment at our literal fingertips.
Maybe we should learn the lesson Rogers was attempting to teach children. Silence is OK. Silence is good. Time for both reflection and meditation are greatly encouraged in the Scriptures.
Are we OK with being silent in our fast paced world? Or, are we afraid we might not like what we’ll see if we do?
Our faith in what Jesus did makes us secure children of God (John 1:12), so there is nothing to fear from a little quiet reflection. Our faith in Jesus made us a somebody who can do something with the life the Father gave us (Eph. 2:10) and meditation can only help.
We will not be fully like Jesus until we see Him face to face. So for now, a little bit of silent reflection will do us wonders until He finishes the job He started in us.

The Reality of Following Jesus

“A dead thing goes down stream, only a living thing goes against it.”
I’ve fished for salmon in both Alaska and California. These fish are literally working their tails off to get upstream to their spawning grounds.
For some, like those pictured, this process is much harder than others. Some get eaten along the way by bears, eagles or humans. And yet, they must go through this arduous task to reproduce and keep the salmon life cycle going.
It’s the same for those who truly love and follow Jesus. We live in a world that wants to feed our flesh and its desires, rather than kill them. Living out the truths Jesus gives us, then, will be like swimming upstream.
We’ll need a tougher, stronger and deeper faith to live in a day when people, including some Christians, only want to float downstream in the river of “everyone has a right to believe what they want to believe,” except those going upstream.
Swimming upstream will take dying to ourselves – our feelings, our rationalizations, our justifications, etc. – to let the Spirit replace us with Jesus. This kind of upstream living will mean making tough contrary faith choices (going against our way of thinking and feeling) throughout our day.
Don’t be fooled. This is the reality for Jesus followers. BUT, be encouraged. Jesus went upstream and look what happened to Him. He’s alive and seated on the throne next to the Father.
He won and so can you as you continue to follow Him upstream.